Saturday, November 18 , 2017, 9:40 pm | Fair 47º



BizHawk: Founders of Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria Plan Nationwide Expansion

Great Clips opens on upper State Street, FuelBox wins Indiegogo competition and AuPairCare makes Santa Barbara hire

[BizHawk is published weekly, and includes items of interest to the business community. Share your business news, including employee announcements and personnel moves, by emailing [email protected]]

Patience was all part of the plan for founders of a Santa Barbara Neapolitan-style pizza joint, which two chefs opened last year in the hope of perfecting a create-your-own model and sharing it nationwide.

Less than two years after Glenn Cybulski and Joseph Baumel began serving up pies to pizza lovers at Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria at 905 State St., they are now about to take the business on the road through a multi-unit expansion.

Persona, which opened in February 2013, will begin opening franchise locations across the country, with an official announcement of development plans coming next week.

Its customers are able to choose toppings and watch the pizza assemble into an authentic Neapolitan-style, thin-crust dish that bakes within 60 seconds.

The downtown business has received three or four inquiries from entrepreneur-hopefuls almost every day since obtaining permission to franchise, Cybulski said, with some from Orange County, San Diego, Sacramento, the Bay Area and in other states.

“We’re very grateful that we’ve been embraced by the people,” Cybulski told Noozhawk. “This industry as a whole is a very strong industry. This concept, create-your-own fast casual, is new to pizza. Ours is true Neopolitan pizza. Great pizza sells.”

The chef said 80 percent of the Santa Barbara shop’s business has come from locals — not just tourists and college students — and founders hope to maintain food quality by conducting in-house training for franchisees over a three-month process.

Great Clips Opens in Santa Barbara

A Great Clips has opened in Santa Barbara’s 5 Points Shopping Center at 3987-C State St. as part of the company's Central Coast expansion efforts.

The city’s first Great Clips location opened in late May, and has been offering coupons for deals on haircuts as part of its grand opening.

Within the last 18 months, Great Clips opened new salons in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Arroyo Grande and Atascadero.

FuelBox Wins Indiegogo Honor

Santa Barbara-based FuelBox Inc., makers of mobile charging solution the powerStation, has been named as winners of Indiegogo’s “Maker Challenge” best campaign.

The Indiegogo “Maker Challenge” promotes innovative programs and campaigns on its crowd-funding website, and was sponsored by Amazon and Autodesk as part of President Barack Obama’s program encouraging U.S.-based technology development and manufacturing.

In winning, FuelBox raised $71,000 in five weeks, or 142 percent of its fundraising goal, and was featured on Indiegogo's newsletter — highlight the most interesting and innovative campaigns — twice.

“We cannot even begin to fully express how excited we are to have won this award for entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Dan Friedman, co-founder and chief marketing officer, in a statement. “The powerStation is our first product, however. As true innovators, we have many additional innovative mobile-charging products in our developmental pipeline.”

AuPairCare Makes Local Hire

AuPairCare, an au pair agency matching American families with international au pairs, has hired Izabella Osvath as a new area director in Santa Barbara.

Osvath, a native of Hungary and current Santa Barbara City College student, will be responsible for providing ongoing support to local AuPairCare families and au pairs, sometimes referred to as nannies.

AuPairCare area directors provide education and support to host families and au pairs, host monthly events, conduct in-home interviews with host families and provide orientation to au pairs.

Invoca Announces Sales Figures

Invoca, a Santa Barbara-based provider of cloud-based inbound call marketing automation, has converted $2.5 billion in sales for its customers since the company was founded and $1.7 billion in the last year alone.

The announcement comes as demands continue to rise for Invoca’s services. Invoca reports a 337 percent overall increase in inbound call volume through its platform since 2012, largely driven by mobile advertising and search. Calls to Invoca customers have increased by more than 100 percent year-over-year, for four consecutive years, from 2009 to 2013.

“Most marketers assume that it's easier to interact with their customers digitally, so they're investing in creating great mobile experiences for search, email, social, apps and the web," Invoca CEO Jason Spievak said in a statement. “Our business trajectory shows that smartphones are more than small computers — people are actually using them to call and purchase from businesses tens of billions of times every year. Invoca's technology is enabling marketers to realize the significant revenue opportunity this presents.”

Botanic Garden Hires Communications Coordinator

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has hired Rebecca Mordini as its new communications coordinator. 

A native of Virginia, Mordini has lived in the Santa Ynez Valley for five years and has worked in nonprofit management and communications for more than 20 years, serving organizations that protect immigrant farm workers, educate children in a whole-child environment and preserve trails for multiple uses.  

Most recently she was director of marketing and development at The Family School in Los Olivos, where she updated branding, redesigned the website and created a social media presence.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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