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Weekly Business Profile

Richie B's Pizza
Type of business:
Pizzeria, Subs, Desserts

Preston & Jessica Smith

Business Address:

7200 Montgomery Blvd NE
Albuquerque NM 87109

Business Email:

Business Website:

What was your first job?
In my younger years, I developed a love for gaming and pizza. So naturally, I did database programming for the Air Force for seven years.

How did you get started in this business?
Well, it all started at the age of 2 when my mom gave me my first bite of pizza. I knew instantly pizza would be my life.
Why did you choose this business?
So I could eat the pizza every day.

What is your business philosophy?
To serve outstanding food with amazing customer service. I try to introduce myself to every customer who walks through the door.

What is your educational background?
I graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2008 with a degree in Management of Information Systems.
What is your or your company's greatest asset?
The recipes! Our recipes are authentic New York Italian that were passed down for three generations.
What are your strongest business traits?
We take pride in the food we serve.

Why did you choose to do business in Albuquerque?
We originally tried Richies recipes in Alabama, so when we moved back to Albuquerque to be closer to family, we missed it so much we had to open our own restaurant here.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
To pursue the dream of owning my own pizza restaurant. This has been something I've wanted to do for 10 years, and now it's a reality. I have two daughters whom I'd like to provide the best possible education to, while showing them the value of hard work.
How is operating your own business different than you expected?
It's a lot of work! Lots of 14 and 16-hour days. We knew it was going to be a lot of work and long hours, but there are so many little things we hadn't consider along the way.
What significant changes have you implemented recently?
We're very choosy with our ingredients, and after a long search for a great sausage, we went local and decided on Tully's Italian sausage, which is a great complement to the Grande cheese and Boar’s Head meats we use.
What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
Having the courage to quit my 9-5 job and open this pizzeria! There was a lot of second guessing and questioning myself, but I'm very happy I did it.
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
We offer a real NY-style pizza; we hand make all the sauce and dough. Nothing is frozen or shipped in bags. Everything is fresh, and fresh is best.
How do you maintain your competitive edge?
I like to think we offer the best pizza in the city and great customer service. I believe those two things will keep us competitive as long as pizza is still being eaten.

How would you define your position within the marketplace or within your market segment?
We're a small pizzeria with huge pizzas and bold taste.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle in operating a successful business?
One word: time. There's never enough time.
What was your best business decision?
To list ourselves in the Alibi (I hope).
What was your biggest missed opportunity?
One time I bought an old greyhound bus with the intention of turning it into a motor home. On my drive back home, I stopped to get gas and saw a rock band that had broken down and needed a ride. By the time I thought about giving them a ride, it was too late. That could have been my chance to meet AC/DC, Maroon 5 or the Backstreet Boys!
What are your growth goals?
It'd be nice if every single house in Albuquerque tried our pizza and loved it. To try our pizza is to love it!
What is your company's greatest challenge?
Getting the word out that we're open and that we have amazing food.
What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?
My wife and I have rescued over 40 animals and found them homes over the past 10 years. We are pretty proud of that!
How has the internet affected your business, and how do you think it might affect your business in the future?
Reviews are very important in today's culture. But to be honest, I've been so busy with making pizzas, I haven't gotten the chance to put our website online yet. I hope to have that finished by the time this is published.
In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?
Running it. Keeping quality food going out to customers and cleanliness.
If you had to choose another career or start another business what, would it be?
I would have loved be a professional hockey player.
What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?
First of all, believe in yourself. Don't let other people tell you can't do something. Work hard, very hard. Don't be afraid to take risks. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger says: "You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.”
What's your favorite saying or quotation?
As the owner of a pizzeria I'm quite fond of hearing this: "That was amazing, can I have another slice please?"
If you had a chance to live anyone else's life, whose life would it be?
I think it would pretty interesting to live as King Ramses of Egypt so I could finally learn how the pyramids were built.
What book are you currently reading, or what's your favorite book?
I always quite fond of The Farside and Calvin and Hobbes.
Do you have a hero or mentor—business or otherwise?
I've always been a fan of the Hulk and his ability to just get mad and smash everything. Although it would be pretty cool to have a skeleton made out of metal like Wolverine.
If there is one thing about Albuquerque or New Mexico that you could change, what would it be?
The really windy days of spring, road rage, and I would have given Bill Gates the investment he was looking for!
What do you look for in prospective employees?
Honesty and how much weight they can carry on their back.
What inspires you?
Comedy: I like making people laugh (if you couldn't tell).
Three passions outside of work?
Hockey, “Game of Thrones,” family.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for reading this. Please stop in and try our pizza or Philly Cheese-steaks! You won't be disappointed; I guarantee it.

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