Despite small advancements for women in the workplace, there are several types of business industries in this country that are simply male dominated. For the women strong enough to deal with the harshest economies as well as the most clashing and sabotaging competitors, success may never be acknowledged. The fact that so-called business men who can’t win on a level playing field will resort to threats and numerous other law breaking strategies is a gender disgrace.
Two female friends of mine opened a pizza shop in the Southern Maine back in 1990. Sanford, Maine, to be exact. At this time in the State of Maine, women owning and operating any business let a alone a pizza shop was rare. In fact 90 percent of “family owned” Mom and Pop’s Corner pizza shops were owned and managed by men. A truly greasy situation.
When the doors to Pilot Choice Pizza opened, the “girls” knew the work was going to be hard and hours long. They knew it would be a few years in the building process to begin to see a profit, let alone enjoy a day off. What they never expected was how the man who had previously failed a similar business at the same location would attempt almost anything to kill the growth of this new business. The women learned the hard way that this guy was willing to do or say anything to save his own face about failing. It was an outstanding feat how fast their business began to grow rapidly to record breaking amounts, Within the first six months, rather than celebrate success, they stood their ground to fight. Not only the harmful lies of the previous owner, but other male competitors had joined in to do or say anything to squash their upward motivation.
Lies, false claims, and even physical threats came in by the hundreds. Phone calls threatening the women and their families to close their establishment or else came in daily. Drive by rock throwing, attempted break-ins, and the almighty gossip never deterred these two women to overcome and try even harder. In the end, these two women would build a million dollar a year business that would change the way the residents of Sanford, Maine, would eat and be served.
Perseverance and hard work is how most women succeed. Sacrifice is one of the main steps to keeping any business growing. Dirty pool is how men in that area tried to take the “girls” out.
“It’s harder than we ever dreamed,” said Joanne D’Agata, one of the women involved in the Pizza Industry. “My business partner and I were called names, threatened, fell victim to sabotage, all kinds of childish antics. All while we were working 12-15 hour days, 7 days of the week. For the first few years, we worked 90 hours a week and never saw our families. Neither of us had children or husbands, so it was possible. But then neither of us felt complete when our business took off. Our family life suffered, It was hard.”
The girls owned and operated a business named Pilot Choice Pizza. The location was perfect. It sat in front of Sanford Airport, the airport used by then President George Bush Sr. when he would vacation in nearby Kennebunkport, Maine. Across the street from the pizza shop and in the block surrounding them were 60 factories and several new housing developments. The location was the genius of a man named Leo Theodorou. He had faith in the women. His sight became their vision. Only one other man in the area helped the girls when they needed it. He owned a pizza shop about six miles up the street in the heart of Sanford. His name was Jimmy and he owned Sanford House of Pizza. He too worked hard to have all he had, and he always respected the women for how they endured the industry.
In 1998, the loyal customers of the girls informed them of plant closings and layoffs. They chose to sell their business at a huge profit and move to a nearby town. They opened a smaller business in hopes of enjoying their decade of success and spending time with their families. It worked in the new town. The girls had a winning combination that serves good food and success. Even months after leaving Pilot Choice, they faced horrible gossip as to why they left the previous business. The man who had bought them out began to fail immediately. He too used verbal abuse and lies to save face. Even when winning, women in business can still lose.
The women still remain at the top of their game. Many businesses have attempted to compete on a much friendlier level, but they have unfortunately fell victim to economic woes and had to go out of business.
“After all these years of battling all kinds of issue’s that can hurt businesses, we feel, against the men who tried to hurt us, we won the battle with hard work.
“In our new business and in this new decade, it should be easier. More and more women own and operate many different industries. However…It’s actually a more difficult battle. Surprisingly, here in 2013, we fight an even worse element. Gossiping and uneducated workers. We are now fighting women in the work zone. Uneducated women who don’t know nor care what we and other women in business have gone through to get here. Never did we ever think that in the beginning our worse enemy would be man. And in the end as we get ready to retire our enemies would actually be the very women who work for us. Typical jealous women with boring lives who bad mouth, create idiotic scenario’s that are only meant to hurt us personally. They have no idea the real workings of life. But still we laugh and persevere. We talk and laugh among ourselves reminiscing how men wanted to beat us up and our own girls want to beat us down.
“In our 24 years in business we have donated to charities, fed the poor, and helped ALL employees, including these back stabbing women, on every occasion they have dealt with in their lives. Weddings, drunk driving charges, money needs, sick kids, and we could go on. As employers we have always watch the backs of our employees. Because that is how it should be. We now sit back and laugh at how the guys in the beginning were bad. But the women of now are greedy and vicious. We watch their backs, while they stab ours. Ah. success is not always sweet.”