2012 Winners

Sudbury | Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Vicky Wydra

Vicky Wydra

When Vicky Wydra makes a decision, she goes for it. That was the thought process when she impulsively decided to open up a pizza franchise in Sudbury.

There was no market research, studies, or months of going back and forth with the decision. Her gut instinct told her to make it work.

"That was the biggest challenge, not really knowing or having the experience, on the business side of things, to run the store," said Wydra, owner of New Orleans Pizza. "We didn't have anywhere to run to and find out if we were making mistakes. We learned from our mistakes the hard way, by trial and error."

The risky and bold strategy worked. With the help of her mother, Wydra successfully opened her first store on Lasalle Boulevard and within five years opened three more outlets in the city.

"At first, to learn how to market ourselves, to network, to tell people who you were, and why they should buy from you, that was a whole different thing for us," she said. "It was difficult to go out into the community and sell ourselves, because we never had to do that before."

Wydra also had to come to terms with the presence of the competition.

Franchise like Topper's Pizza had its roots set in the community for 30 years and Pizza Pizza had a strong presence as well.

"The way I look at it, is that there's enough population to cover all," she said. "If there was only one brand of everything, one grocery store, then I'd be worried, but everybody needs something different."

With a career working in the restaurant and fast food industry, Wydra always wanted to run her own place.

Once business began growing, the majority of her family started pitching in.

"When we got bigger, we needed more stores, and needed to get people we can trust," she explained.

Wydra's husband jumped in full-time to manage a store and her father came out of retirement to lend a hand. Her two children, 11 and 12 years old, are now starting to learn the ropes around the store as well.

"That's been why we've been able to do this," said Wydra. "We can all pull from each other. When one is down, the other is not."

With more than six years under their collective belts, Wydra credits her extended family of committed and hard-working employees for their success and creating a light-hearted work culture.

"We're a really understanding group, and try to keep all our staff happy," she said. "It isn't really a serious environment. We have fun.

"It's a family business that treats everyone like family."

New Orleans Pizza is heavily involved in charitable efforts, something has Wydra committed to since the early days of operation.

As a local Chamber of Commerce member, they're willing to donate pizza to any cause with contributions to events like the Sudbury Rocks Marathon for the last four years.

"This isn't like a job for me," she said. "The people we meet, the people we talk to, it's a lot of fun. It's been a blast becoming part of the business community."

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