Pie in the Sky
What: Authentic New York pizza shipped nationwide via UPS
Who: Ed Powers of IWantNYPizza.com
Where: Smithtown, New York
When: Started in 2005
Startup costs: $40,000
When some friends told native New Yorker Ed Powers that the first stop on their visit to New York City would be a pizzeria, his idea for IWantNYPizza.com was born. Powers, 46, knew he had many friends and family who had recently left New York and missed authentic New York-style pizza. Teaming up with his two brothers-in-law who run Italian restaurants, Powers developed a website where people could order fresh New York pizza--shipped on ice by UPS nationwide.
IWantNYPizza.com ships from six satellite pizzerias, each of which is a "stretch by hand, roll by hand, throw the dough up in the air" type of place, says Powers, who points out that his customers are buying not just the product, but also the experience of eating New York pizza. He feels an obligation to his customers, especially native New Yorkers who now live elsewhere. "That's why we have to do it right," he says. In 2006, the business expanded its menu to include bagels, and Powers expects sales to reach $500,000 in 2007.
Powers says it was important to him to create a business that would "share the wealth and benefits of success." IWantNYPizza.com regularly donates to charities, including the Marty Lyons Foundation and the Jazz Foundation of America.