Perfecting a piece of the business pie

Pizzeria owners publish book on succeeding at the helm

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Business owners Jim and Paula Newman work together full-time in the food service industry, but, for them, their job involves more than just flipping pizzas.
Over the last 38 years, they’ve owned multiple Figaro’s Pizza stores throughout Oregon and opened their first Schmizza Pizza franchise in Lebanon six years ago. And this year, Paula published a book that explains their approach to a successful business.
In “Building a Business by Building Relationships; How a Heart for the Marketplace Can Help You Grow Profits,” Newman wrote it’s about being in the business of working with people and having relationship skills.
Chapters cover the various relationships a business owner juggles, from employees, other professionals and community, to self, God and family. As Newman said, “It’s about putting people first.”
As business owners, the Newmans say their first customers are their employees. There’s a standard of respectful communication, and they all work together to resolve conflicts and problems, she said. They also know that listening to employees’ needs is worth the effort.
“People don’t quit jobs; they quit bosses,” Newman said.
Anyone in an organization who deals with people – be it a business, nonprofit or ministry – can benefit from the book, she noted.
The Newmans married in 1976 and, having met in Bible college, they envisioned working in ministry full-time. Instead, they found themselves selling Amway products.
In 1983, they took their first big risk by purchasing Figaro’s Pizza in Salem. The business was in financial decline, but the Newmans turned it right-side-up in three months as Jim began measuring and controlling the costs. By 1986, they were operating five stores, and worked that number up over the next decade to 13.
Although they aren’t serving in ministry the way they originally expected, the couple finds that what they’re doing in business runs along the same vein.
“It’s about serving people,” Newman said.
And as they build relationships with their employees and the community they serve, they find opportunities to speak into their lives.
“We consider what we do making a difference for good, adding value in peoples’ lives,” Newman said. “The biggest thing is loving them. I’ve got a quote on my board that says, ‘If I don’t live a life of love, nothing I know will matter.’”
To order the book, visit https://amzn.to/3HcpGTY.