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Mustache Pretzels

Submitted by: Gregory Golden
State: Arizona
City: Tempe

Business Description

The name isn't a clever one. We here at Mustache Pretzels sell hand-rolled soft pretzels shaped like handlebar mustaches from our two AZ-based food trucks, and storefront at Phoenix Convention Center.

What one unique aspect of your business will make you succeed over the next year?

The one, unique aspect of our business that will make us succeed over the next year is what's "baked in" to every pretzel we make. (And, no--it's not just the carbs, salt, and butter.) It's the story of a frustrated accountant leaving his day job to do something he believed would make people smile. It's the feeling of being "in on the joke" the first time a customer walks up to one of our food trucks, orders a pretzel, and says "Ohhh! They really ARE shaped like mustaches!" And it's the unabashed fun our crew has when we're at an event, serving up 'staches and doing our thing. We'll succeed over the next year because of those feelings--independence, inclusiveness, and fun--that are baked into every bite of every pretzel we make. Those feelings inform every decision we make, every opportunity we pursue, and every aspect of our business.

How does your business make a positive impact on the community?

Over the past three years, we've helped to organize and serve at over 200 different school fundraisers in the Greater Phoenix area, and donated thousands of dollars of proceeds back to local elementary, middle, and high schools. Beyond the immediate financial impact of being able to share profits with local schools, we're able to create good, honest, fun jobs for people who need them. We've hired high school students directly from school dances; we've hired mothers picking up their kids from an after-school fundraiser who want to earn a little extra money on the weekends; and we've hired teachers looking to work in the summers to help pay back their student loans.

What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?

A $1,000 Sam's Club gift card would allow us to update our marketing materials, replace some older equipment, and purchase additional inventory. Training and help from a SCORE mentor will help us grow our business by connecting us to industry experts who have already done the very things we're working on doing now. We've got a product people love and a story people can relate to--we just need guidance from industry veterans to help coach us through the next phase of growth for our business.

The following responses will be considered in judging for a SCORE Award.

How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?

Jack helped us identify priorities and make big, strategic decisions last year. We were deciding where to open up our second truck, and Jack guided us through the decision making process. Jack went the extra mile by then helping us build a framework to make sure the second truck project finished on time and under budget.

Have you had to overcome any obstacles along the way to build your business?

We've had to overcome a number of obstacles as we've built our business. Most notably, when we started in the spring of 2014, our founder, Greg, was still working part time as an accountant. By fall of that year, business had picked up to the point that Greg decided to leave his accounting job to devote himself fully to Mustache Pretzels. One week later, our truck died on the way home from an event, and needed a new engine and transmission. We had $0.57 left in our bank account after the repairs, and had to rebuild from scratch from that point forward.

How will you utilize the marketing video and national recognition of winning a SCORE Award to help take your business to the next level?

We'll use the marketing video and national recognition of winning a SCORE Award to build brand awareness in new markets as we prepare to franchise in the next 12- to 18-months. Being able to attach the label "SCORE Award Winning" to our business as we approach new opportunities will be invaluable, as it lends instant credibility and name recognition for those unfamiliar with our business and brand.
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