Pizza and Craft Brew: A Recipe for Entrepreneurial Success in San Diego

Nov 01, 2011

Pizza and Craft Brew: A Recipe for Entrepreneurial Success in San Diego

In 1987, Gina Marsaglia was looking for a job and a way to relocate permanently from her home in Colorado to California, where she had been attending college. She heard about a pizza parlor that was about to go under in Solana Beach and she thought she would check it out.

“I walked in and it was a rainy night—it smelled like pizza and I fell in love,” Gina said. She scraped together all of the cash she had and made an offer that got her the restaurant. She invited her brother Vince out that summer and he’s been working with her ever since, growing Pizza Port into a nationally recognized restaurant and craft brewery without losing the comfortable informality of the family-run business that attracted and kept their first customers all those years ago.

From the start, Gina counted on Bank of America for the deposit services that every business needs to process its revenues and pay its bills. But it wasn’t long before this dynamic sister-brother team identified opportunities to grow and turned to the bank they worked with every day to convert those opportunities into success stories. In 1992, a loan from Bank of America helped them lease beer brewing equipment. Vince Marsaglia recalls with a chuckle, “After signing the papers [for the beer equipment loan], we came out of the branch and I was so happy that I just screamed…and a couple of people looked at me like, ‘What did he just do?’ Without that loan, none of this would have happened.”

The combination of craft-brewed beers and delicious pizza drove sales through the roof. Within a year, Pizza Port was doing 10 times the business that it had before adding beer to the mix.

In 2010, Pizza Port celebrated another milestone—its fourth location overall and its first one within the city of San Diego.

Gina notes that, “Bank of America was monumental in making it [the San Diego location] come together. They handled the real estate, the building purchase and pulled the whole package together. I couldn’t have done that.”

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When we were looking at Ocean Beach for that location, Bank of America took our loans from the start to the finish and made the operation happen. They helped us connect all of the pieces to make a deal come together.

Gina Marsaglia
CEO, Pizza Port