What are you most proud of?
Having the support and patronage of the community these past 35 years has been a great source of pride for me and Sue. The efforts have not been ours alone. We have been lucky to have had over 250 dedicated employees who have greatly contributed to our success.
What is the most significant difference about running a restaurant today, as opposed to when you opened?
Changing dietary norms have affected our business significantly over the years. Folks have many more restrictions. Low carb, vegan, gluten free, and paleo special diets make it imperative for restaurants to have offerings for every person in a group. Also, the way one communicates with their base has seen huge changes. We went from mailing coupons to email marketing, to posting on social media, receiving orders via fax and now online ordering. Rising food costs are labor costs, coupled with staffing shortages have become the greatest changes affecting business today. There is also a rise in popularity of kit meals, and grocery store hot lines. Since the great recession, families are cooking at home more often as well. That being said, hospitality is still very gratifying.
What are you most excited about for the future?
Downtown Santa Rosa is in a state of transition. Last year's wild fires displaced much of our customer base, negatively affecting all of Downtown. However, we feel there is much for which to look forward. We are very excited to see that housing downtown is a top priority for the near future. The changing skyline will be of great benefit to merchants and restaurants by having a constant flow of folks walking the downtown core making it a vibrant destination.
Anything you would like to say to your fellow Downtown Businesses?
To our Downtown neighbors we say... stay involved and be informed. Don’t let others make decisions for your businesses without having your voice heard. There is strength in numbers. We all decided to invest in Downtown when we housed our businesses here. Collectively we have a big voice and can make significant change. By going to meetings and serving on committees we can make Downtown 'the' place to be once again.
Thank you for participating in our Downtown Business Spotlight – we look forward to 35 more years of La Vera Pizza in Downtown Santa Rosa!
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