For Immediate Release
July 21, 2012
(Traverse City, MI & Troy, MI) – When entrepreneur Jessica Caizza took ownership of the Grand Traverse Pie Company franchise on Maple Road in Troy, she had more in mind than just offering her “guests” a great casual dining experience. From day one, she intended on “giving back” to her community. “Giving to others in the community is important to me on a couple of levels,” says Caizza. “First, I am eager to grow a successful team. The business culture they learn here will go with them in their future careers. Secondly, I want to give back to the community. We consider this our `home’ and intend to “give back” to our guests,” said Caizza.
Beginning on July 22nd Caizza will begin making good on those goals. For one week, July 22nd through July 28th guests will be treated to daily Week of Giving food specials and sweet giveaways to the first 50 guests each day, all week long. Additionally, kids will enjoy visiting with Detroit Tigers mascot Paws on Friday, July 27th from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., a perfect photo opportunity for the entire family!
Through the ‘Week of Giving’, 5% of all proceeds will be donated to Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative (MYOI). Caizza became aware of MYOI because of the long time involvement of Grand Traverse Pie Company co-founder Denise Busley. The organization provides assistance to youth who are transitioning out of foster care. “Aging out of the foster care system (at 18-years old) does not insure a happy-ever-after life,” mentions Busley. “I was flabbergasted that the funding system ends abruptly at age 18; and all too often these kids end up back into the abusive family situation that put them in foster care in the first place.”
MYOI offers Community Partner Boards which provide support, service discounts and advocacy for older youth in care. There are training opportunities to prepare these kids for adulthood. Also, each youth has an Individual Development Account (IDA). Youth are required to save something each month and MYOI matches the IDA funds dollar for dollar up to $1,000 per year.
Grand Traverse Pie Company awarded $6,000 in scholarships to twelve (12) MYOI members last year. Busley indicated that while the financial help was essential; “Feeling for these kids who don’t trust and are pretty broken is just part of membership in the human family. It’s important for them to know we believe in them and in their potential. It only makes sense to take care of these kids now or they will be part of the system forever,” she added.
Caizza, who purchased the business in January of 2012, says she decided on a ‘Week of Giving’ rather than doing a second grand opening, or a typical customer appreciation event. She hopes to make the fund raiser an annual event, and would like to
emphasize that it’s a win-win program. “Our guests will enjoy great deals on our wholesome, fresh menu selections. We don’t use any processed food, 95% of our ingredients are purchased from Michigan companies, and our bakery items are made in house, fresh daily. People come back to our pie shop because our food is homemade and fresh, our great customer service, and our support of Michigan businesses,” Caizza emphasized. She mentions that her philanthropic bent is a reflection of her long-term employment with entrepreneur and Renaissance man Dan Gilbert. “He was a mentor, a great inspiration, and set a good example of why giving back is so important,” says Caizza. “Helping people who can’t help themselves; who need it, is extremely self-fulfilling.”
The Grand Traverse Pie Company team invites everyone to enjoy having breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Troy location of Grand Traverse Pie Company next week and help the Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative.
Grand Traverse Pie Company’s Troy Bakery Café is located at 1446 W. Maple Rd. in Troy. For more information, visit gtpie.com or call 248.458.0322.