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Local Entrepreneur Champions Newest Topper’s Pizza location

Nov 28, 2016
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Meet:                   Genevieve Knauff

Location:             Topper’s Pizza – Thunder Bay *new location opened Oct. 17

Thunder Bay entrepreneur, Genevieve Knauff provides an insider look on her business philosophy and what drew her to the Topper’s Pizza franchise.

What led you to look into a Topper’s Pizza franchise?

My initial conversation, was not about Topper’s Pizza, but about franchising in itself.  Although I was versed about business, I knew nothing about franchising and was curious about what it entailed.  And so, I reached out to a colleague in Thunder Bay who owns several Tim Hortons locations to share his thoughts about franchising.  This colleague brought up Topper’s Pizza as a potential franchise to look into. Excited about the idea, but still knowing very little about the brand, I filled out an application to start the conversation.

Why Pizza?

The businesses that I was operating at the time were profitable and continue to be an integral part of the Thunder Bay and First Nations communities. But it was time for something different, and owning a franchise seemed to be the right fit. Pizza is fun, and I wanted to cultivate a pizza place that was a little bit different!

What finalized your decision to go with the Topper’s Pizza brand?

We like to say that we found each other- it is the perfect fit!

During those first few conversations, I was interviewing them as well, as they were interviewing me. My first thought was, “Do I want to get into business with you?”  In order to learn more about the company I was contemplating doing business with, I decided to hop on a plane and meet the team face to face.  I needed to understand who I would be working with.

The first thing that they did, is they brought us to the Bryne Drive location in Barrie and had us try a slice. The product spoke for itself!

Everyone at the company, Keith, Shelley, Todd are incredible. Karen is absolutely fantastic. She was part of the reason that we decided to sign.  Everything she was saying was logical, especially, when it came to marketing.  We had confidence in the business team, as well as confidence in the product.

What are your hopes/dreams with opening the franchise?

I would love to make a big splash in Thunder Bay!  The last really big business that opened here was Tony Roma’s and it created some buzz. My hope is to create enough of a buzz that they not only try the pizza, but come back for more.

My initial goal is to get Topper’s Pizza into as many hands, and bellies, as possible.  In the long term, my dream is to be able to expand the brand and eventually to transfer the ownership to my children.

For now, my children as well as my partner’s children, will be working in the business.  It will be a true family affair.

How would you describe yourself?

I am very focused. If there is a problem, I don’t waste time worrying about the problem, I methodically do the actions that need to be done to resolve the concern.  I’m no stranger to hard work, I created a new business with three children under the age of 6. I didn’t waste time worrying about how to do it, I just did it, because that was something that I had to do.

If you had to pick a business philosophy, what would it be?

One of the speakers at the recent Topper’s Pizza conference struck a code with me, he shared that I have a client that wants a 100% jerk-free place! I loved that. That’s what I want:  I want my franchise to be a fun place to work. I intend to go in there with one value, one vision to cultivate a 100% jerk free work environment. (laughs) 

As you are getting ready for the doors to open, what are your thoughts?

I am wildly excited about the opening! So excited, and thinking about all of these different things that I could do. I want to fast forward to the day of the opening so that I can start making pizzas and begin introducing Thunder Bay to Topper’s Pizza. I’m 100 percent certain that this is something that I’m going to look back on and say I can’t imagine my life without Topper’s. 

Place an order today at Topper's Pizza Thunder Bay

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Amanda Sutton

CATALYST communications choreography

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