Michelle Howey, Owner Little Ceasars Pizza, Victoria
These days Michele Howey can be found in the back of her pizza place in Victoria tossing dough in the air like a seasoned professional. Having opened her own Little Caesars franchise just two months ago, her pizza-making skills must be exceptional because the business is already one of the top selling locations in BC.
“We’ve only been opened two months and we’re growing on a daily basis. We’re becoming more and more a part of the community and are already being asked when we will open our next franchise location,” says Howey.
Having worked most of her life in different restaurants, Howey, like many entrepreneurs, came to a point where she felt she had enough knowledge, skill and drive to make it on her own. A little less than a year ago, she decided it was time to see if she had what it took to be successful in business. “I realized it was time to work for myself and I saw a real niche in Victoria that I felt Little Caesars could fill. I was confident that my history in the restaurant industry would be an asset in running the business successfully,” says Howey.
Some might be surprised to hear that she chose the Little Caesars pizza chain because of the company’s focus on family. Howey had worked for the restaurant years ago and knew that buying into this franchise wouldn’t mean having to sacrifice time with her family.
“I have a young family and it just seemed appropriate for me to part of chain that’s been around for 50 years and still kept its focus on fresh quality ingredients and family involvement,” acknowledges Howey.
Deciding which franchise to purchase might have been the hardest choice, but it was not nearly as challenging as finding the financing to make the dream come true.
“Financing was difficult. Some banks would give you hope and then decide it was too risky. One bank actually sent a letter saying that we were approved for the loan as long as we met one condition. Then even when we met it they backed out.”
That’s when Howey decided to go the non-traditional route and approach Women's Enterprise Centre for a loan. “They were fantastic! We knew exactly where we stood from the beginning; they told us what they needed and when we delivered, we were on our way. We had our loan in less than a month.”
Since then, fresh, hot pizzas having been flying out the doors of Little Caesars in Esquimalt Plaza, Victoria. The business is so busy that all financial goals Howey set have been surpassed. In fact she is already planning to open two more Little Caesars in Victoria as a long-term goal.
“There is nothing more satisfying than the success of exceeding our set goals for the business,” says Howey. “Without Women's Enterprise Centre we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish our dream for our family. We wanted to start something big here in Victoria with Little Caesars and Women's Enterprise Centre has helped us get on our way.”