Friday Jul 26, 2013

Do What You Love!

Joe Fugere

Founder Tutta Bella

Scribe: Megan Sweeters Editor: Jim Kindsvater

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In this Issue

This week’s speaker was Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria founder, Joe Fugere, who discussed the business he created by a “Do What You Love” philosophy and using the 5th ingredient in every pizza. With a mission to build a respected pizzeria, the company will be opening their fifth location on October 7th at Crossroads in Bellevue. Joe told of the steps to success along with overcoming fears and struggles to find financing that led to involvement in Washington Business Association and meetings with President Obama resulting in changing laws to allow expansion of outdoor seating, greater access to financing for Small Businesses, and a repeal of tax on free meals to employees. Club Business included reports on the BBRC Rotary Family, Rotarian of the Month, upcoming 2013 BBRC Charity Golf Classic, Fellowship Committee and Flex Club update.

Speaker Program

Rouke O'Brien
Rouke O’Brien

Rouke O’Brien introduced Joe Fugere, founder and owner of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria. The business was founded in 2004, and awarded “Independent Pizzeria of the Year” in 2010 by Pizza Today magazine. Current locations include Columbia City, Stone Way, Issaquah and Westlake.

Joe Fugere’s recipe for success is “Do What You Love”. Before leaving a management position at Starbucks ten years ago and embarking on this business venture, Joe decided the formula for success is identify the things you love, things you are good at, and things you fear. With this in mind and a visit to a Famous pizzeria in New York City, the idea for Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria was created.

Simplicity yet sophistication were to be the key; great chefs, authentic ingredients from Naples along with restaurant ambiance and customer experience that captures the true feel of Italy. So with authentic Virgin Olive Oil, Flour and tomatoes, along with imported ovens and entry doors from Naples, Tutta Bella Neapolitan is nourishing lives by sharing tradition, food and love.

Also, Joe understands that social stewardship is a responsibility to the communities they serve. Each of the five locations has aligned themselves with a local non-profit organization. The new Crossroads location, opening in October, will partner with the Bellevue Schools Foundation to raise funds to improve student learning throughout the district.

A personable and professional staff is a critical component to success as well. To recognize the valuable role they play, employees are encouraged to experience Naples first hand with Italian tours of the tomato fields, flour mills, churches, museums and, of course, the pizzerias. The staff enjoys many benefits not normally provided by restaurants such as paid time off and free meals.

Once Joe was underway, doing what he loved and what he was good at, it was time to overcome a fear. He had a longtime distaste for government and shied away from getting involved so he began by getting involved with the Washington Restaurant Association. His leadership in the association changed ordinances to expand uses of outdoor seating and, after being invited to a Round Table with Patty Murray, Joe was also a major contributor to enacting a repeal of taxes on free meals to restaurant employees. Then, when Joe was turned down by a bank for a financing need of Tutta Bella Neapolitan following the Financial Crisis, Patty Murray spoke of Joe’s situation during delivery of a “Working with Small Business” speech on the US Senate Floor. Soon after this speech, Joe was invited to meet with President Obama to tell his story and represent Small Business in America; first in Seattle and then in Washington DC. Later, to fulfill a promise of pizza to the President, Joe and his crew delivered dinner to 60 people aboard Air Force One.

The key to success, always remember the 5th ingredient and “Do What You Love”!

Club Business

Tanya Franzen and Nic Wildeman
Tanya Franzen and Nic Wildeman

President Scott Sadler opened the meeting after just returning from Philadelphia where it was “Hotter than a Ham Sandwich”. The invocation and pledge was offered by Nic Wildeman, and Tanya Franzen introduced visiting Rotarians and guests.

Dick Brown provided an updates on conditions of fellow Rotarians behalf of the BBRC Rotary Family Committee including Roger Allington, Ron Healy and Phil Salvatori. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Girish Bhattia
Girish Bhattia

President Scott presented Girish Bhattia with his Blue Badge and thanked him for Chairing the New Member Committee and active participation in the marketing and registration at the BBRC 10K run.

ROTM Tom Smith
ROTM Tom Smith

Tom Smith received Rotarian of the Month for his hard work on the Sammamish Scholarship Committee, that he has been an active member of the last 17 years, providing dozens of students the chance to pursue their dreams.

Christine Rose
Christine Rose

Christine Rose spoke on behalf of the BBRC Flex Club, a satellite club, reporting that the Flex Club Service Project to preserve property housing for homeless and at-risk families at KITH, Saturday, July 27th from 9 to 12. Also with a reminder that the Flex Club will be meeting on Wednesday (8/7) at Koral Bellevue at the Bellevue Hyatt, with Jenny Andrews on the topic of Travelling the World with Rotary.

Katherine DeStephano presented a fun video to promote the upcoming Golf Tournament; more foursomes are needed as well as donations for the auction. Please sign up today!

Tim Leahy
Tim Leahy

Fellowship Committee chair Tim Leahy announced that the committee has a busy schedule planned for the club during August, so mark your calendars:

August. 1st – Open House at Tenhulzen’s new office in Bellevue

August 7th – Bellevue Sunrise Speed Croquet Tournament at the Red Hook Brewery

August 15th – Fellowship at the Bellevue Brewing Company

August 22nd – Rotary at the Everett Aqua Sox Night

(Free tickets if it is your first time at an Aqua Sox game).

Chuck Barnes
Chuck Barnes

Ruben Ladlad shared thank you cards written by the 3rd graders that received dictionaries from the BBRC during the school year.

Everyone joined in to sing Happy 80th Birthday to Chuck Barnes.

Ann Norman
Ann Norman

Finally, our substitute SSA, Anne Norman, got everyone involved in a putting contest. Congratulations Justin Wells, our contest winner!




About the Speaker

Prior to opening Tutta Bella in January 2004, Joe Fugere, the owner, received his certification as a pizzaiolo and traveled to Naples to continue his training and refine his skills. Since the VPN regulations do not state that the pizza must be made in Naples any restaurant in the world has the opportunity to receive the VPN certification mark provided that the production of their pizzas meets the Association’s strict requirements. To date, only a handful of pizzerias in the United States have chosen to do so – Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria is the first restaurant in the Northwest to receive the coveted VPN certification.