Success Stories

Cornerstone Pizza

When a December blizzard stranded thousands of passengers at Philadelphia’s airport, local news stations spotlighted how a neighborhood pizzeria was helping to feed hundreds of airline employees working around the clock … by delivering 800 pizzas in just three days!

The owners of Cornerstone Pizza, Buzz Villas and Dave Shearn, did not earn the majority of those emergency orders by being cheapest (they were not) or biggest (their shop is only 965 square feet). Instead, they just kept reliably filling larger and larger orders, while their premium quality pizza kept earning repeat requests from satisfied airline workers!

The fact that Cornerstone conquered the unexpected “tsunami” of airline orders reflects their dedication to excellence driving their everyday success.

From the outside, this corner pizzeria appears deceptively small. But in reality, its compact kitchen is used to staying busy enough to require full distributor deliveries every other day.

Despite plenty of nearby pizzerias, owners Buzz and Dave do not worry about competition. Instead, they have long staked their success on using only the very best ingredients, regardless of cost. They even explain this dedication to customers in their “mission statement” printed on every menu.

In fact, it was their quality dedication which first got their “little guy” foot in the door during the snow emergency. That is, when an airline office manager was first instructed to begin ordering pizzas en masse to boost the morale of their hardworking staff, she made sure to add in her own personal favorite, Cornerstone.

Regularly handling peak demand from their compact kitchen helped Cornerstone quickly respond to the first 50 pie order. But maintaining that accelerated pace for the next three days required calling in the entire team and arranging for emergency distributor deliveries to replenish exhausted inventories.

Still, rather than waiting for the first distributor delivery to arrive, Dave saved precious hours of dough making “rise time” by mixing additional batches immediately, with flour borrowed from a fellow Independent. Similarly, a dedicated employee prepped ingredients through the night so the next waves of baking could begin first thing the next day.

Because Buzz and Dave have consistently refused to compromise quality for any reason over the years, their team shares their “do it right the first time” mindset. This helped them keep their ovens baking at full capacity, without having to rework any mistakes along the way. In turn, being able to deliver each order correctly and on time translated directly into picking up larger and larger shares of the airline’s subsequent orders.

Dave says that despite two recessions in 16 years, they owe the ongoing strength of their success to superior food quality and to doubling down on service. How? “By looking every customer in the eye, always saying please and thank you, and treating them as good as gold!” Bravo!!