Seven months after winning the Stu Lieblein ’90 Pitch Contest, Sam Solomon ’17 is launching a Go Fund Me campaign that will help make his vision for Pizza Posto a reality. Originally conceived as a restaurant in downtown Geneva, Solomon has transformed his idea into a wood-fire pizza truck that will complement the infrastructure of wineries, breweries and festivals already in the Finger Lakes region.
“With my wood-fire pizza truck I’ll be able to bring pizzas with fresh locally sourced ingredients to wineries, breweries and festivals in the Finger Lakes,”says Solomon, whose goal is to provide customers with a unique culinary experience inspired by the surrounding region.
Solomon, who received a $10,000 grant for winning the annual HWS entrepreneurial contest coordinated by the Centennial Center, is on his way to funding the venture. Through his fundraising campaign, Solomon is seeking to raise $38,000 in order to purchase a food truck outfitted with a wood-fire oven and to cover the costs of a commissary kitchen.
His pivot toward a food truck, instead of a brick and mortar restaurant, was inspired by mentors who helped him see the potential opportunity in taking his pizza on the road. Solomon says business owners in Geneva, including
the Buffalonian Food Truck and Billsboro Winery, helped him get a sense of the market while Professor of Sociology Jack Harris P’02, P’06 and Visiting Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies Craig Talmage helped him strategize a new business plan.
“Without that prize money, and all the help we have received from the HWS and Geneva community, Pizza Posto would be nowhere near ready to launch,” says Solomon.
During The Pitch, Solomon impressed judges with his personal story and passion for cooking. As a junior at HWS, Solomon studied abroad in Rome, Italy and attended a master chef demonstration on the art of making pizza. In his presentation, Solomon also provided compelling research on target customer demographics, revealing millennials’ strong interest in buying artisanal and locally sourced food.
Visit the Pizza Posto website for more information.