drop It may sound like small change, but the founder of LaRosa’s Pizzeria has found a unique way to reach—and inspire—young customers. By Jim Wahl | Photos provided by LaRosa’s
Buddy LaRosa, founder of LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria, visits Cincinnati schools and seeks to inspire young people with his entrepreneurial spirit.
s a teenager, Buddy LaRosa probably rolled his eyes when his teacher asked the class to research and bring in a great quote from a wise or noteworthy person. But, like a good student, he did the assignment anyway and settled on a quote attributed to St. Jerome: “Good, better, best: Never let it rest ’til your good is better and your better is best.” At the time, LaRosa couldn’t have imagined that he’d grow up to open a neighborhood pizzeria and become a successful entrepreneur—and a local legend. He couldn’t have known that the motto would become an integral part of his company’s business philosophy, one that his employees would know by heart. And he surely couldn’t have known that he’d be back in that same classroom years later, inspiring the next generation of eye-rolling teens by handing out special coins inscribed with that very motto. Funny how things turn out. LaRosa is now a familiar figure in Cincinnati, both as founder of LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria, with nearly 70 locations in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana, and as a motivational speaker at local school functions. “Whenever Buddy gives someone a coin, he makes them smile,” says Pete Buscani, LaRosa’s executive vice president of marketing. “And when he leaves, the whole room is smiling.”
March 2016 pmq.com