One of the benefits of working with a large variety of businesses is getting to help out some really great food establishments. One of our favorites is Lucky’s New York Pizza located in sunny San Diego, CA!
We found out about Lucky’s through one of our very own Sales Representatives, Paul, who was boasting about all of the great San Diego businesses he gets to work with on a daily basis.
You may be thinking, New York-style pizza in California? Read more about how the Lucky’s owner and New York native, Mitchell Senk, has brought his New York heritage all the way to the West Coast!
How did your business get started?
With origins deeply rooted in New York for generations, New York pizza is in our blood. After moving to the beautiful coast of Southern CA, we’ve been inspired to bring a little slice of NY to our new home. Lucky’s was born with that concept in mind. Our goal is to bring to you the most authentic New York pizza and New York Italian specialties outside of Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. With a great deal of effort, we have been able to clarify the San Diego water so the taste of NY water comes through our filtration systems. Our intention is to use only the finest ingredients available and to serve our finished products within minutes of ordering. Our customer service, delivery times, atmosphere, and overall comfort and cleanliness will be second to none.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to other business owners?
I would tell other business owners to remain true to yourself. You must realize your strengths and weaknesses and proceed accordingly. Do not over step your bounds and keep your overhead very tightly under control. Cash flow in the start up period is crucial. You must be able to pay all your bills and at the same time add on employees and take on new business in order to grow. This is a pretty tough balancing act. It’s like conducting a 125 piece orchestra in a symphony; take on new business while being absolutely sure that you have the production to fulfill this upgraded demand. Make sure you do not “put the cart before the horse.” If you take on new business and cannot deliver in a timely fashion you will never get that business back again. You must make sure you have the production, first and foremost, before taking on any new business.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you heard about Gravity?
I heard of Gravity through a fine gentleman named Paul Kiriakos. He came into my pizza shop one day, without an appointment and introduced himself and his company to me. He was with another fine gentleman by the name of Eric Palafox. I liked Paul immediately. He had a very calm and friendly demeanor. He was totally unlike most other sales reps, who tend to be much more aggressive and assertive. I consider myself a pretty good judge of character. I am born and bred in Greenwich Village, New York. At the ripe old age of 25, I opened a manufacturing facility in Farmingdale, NY which was 30,000 sq ft. I had 150+ people working for me for 32 years. In all my years as the leader of that facility, I had hired every single person, myself……and when I had to, did the firing. I never, in 32 years, had anybody leave that company because they didn’t like working there. My people skills were honed over a 32-year period, not with just employees, but with 300 customers and various vendors, etc. I closed the business in 2008 and moved to San Diego to retire, until my younger son decided he wanted to go into the Pizza business as a career.
How has your time with Gravity been so far?
I was already signed up with another processor at the time. Paul convinced me that Gravity could help seamlessly switch over the business were we wanting to make a switch. At the time, Paul was moving his family from Hawaii to CA , yet he made sure the transition went as smooth as silk (like he promised). I had to do nothing on my end!
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You cannot take business for granted these days. Never once did I meet the sales rep for the other credit card processor I was with. Never once did I get a follow up call from them to introduce themselves or to reassure me I could come to them with any problems or questions. My business was taken for granted by the other processor. Well, all that changed when Paul walked in the door of my pizza shop that day and explained to me how everything worked.
Prior to the pizza shop, I working in manufacturing operations. I never dealt with credit card processing. All of a sudden, I was thrust into a retail environment, where all the rules change. I had to start learning some new things at the age of 65. That is the reason Paul’s ability to take over this part of my operation for me, patiently explain everything, and then follow up with me, meant so much. After he made his way to CA again, he immediately made a personal visit to the shop to make sure everything was running the way it should be. When he finally did move to CA, he came, again to the shop and had lunch. I know he loved the NY pizza, but the real reason for his lunch was to check up on me. You could not find a better contact person or sales person anywhere. With Paul and Gravity, you are completely taken care of. “Peace of mind” is crucial to an owner of a business because that is one less problem we have to deal with during the day.
What’s one fun fact about your business that you would like to share?
I love watching people’s faces when they take their first bite of one of our NY pizzas or specialty items, like a Calzone, Stromboli, Garlic Knot or Specialty Roll. Most have never tasted anything like it and their first reaction is WOW!!! Most folks living in San Diego have never tasted (or even seen) the items we put out in our window. Their reaction puts a big smile on my face because I know what they are in for – a burst of different flavors, all fresh and homemade from scratch! The most enjoyable part of my business is turning people onto new and delicious assortments of tastes and flavors they have never experienced before. Tastes and flavors that are analogous to a different region of the United States – the 5 Boroughs of Lower New York State.