Tony Figaretti, owner of Figaretti Manufacturing and Distribution Incorporated, talked with Jim Matuga, host of The Positively West Virginia Podcast, about his business, the challenges the business faces and his advice to young entrepreneurs.
Figaretti’s was founded in the early 1940s by Figaretti’s grandparents and their five sons after they began packaging and selling their delicious pasta sauce to local grocery stores in the Wheeling area. The sauce became so popular they decided to open a restaurant. In 1949, Figaretti Brothers Restaurant opened in Wheeling. The restaurant has remained in the family ever since.
Today, Figaretti Manufacturing and Distribution specializes in producing one flavor of their award winning spaghetti sauce available only in their 32 ounce jar. It is organic, vegan and gluten-free.
What got you [Tony] into this business?
“We’ve always had the restaurant business, and I was always helping my uncles and grandfather make the sauce for the restaurant. It was in a 30 gallon kettle, and it was just one then,” Figaretti explained. “We now, presently, have five. But in the early 80s, I was participating and making the sauce.”
What are some of the challenges you face everyday?
“Besides the day-to-day challenges, there are challenges to keeping the right attitude amongst yourself–putting that A1 attitude up front, being able to control yourself and being able to provide a positive environment to the people who are around you.”
What was been your most challenging business moment so far?
“There is one that still stands out today,” Figaretti said. “When I was operating the business in my house, we were looking for an additional building, and we found one. Long story short, after the purchase was made, the city of Wheeling denied me the business license to conduct the business there. It was a very serious set back.”
“At that point, I almost gave up on the business. Seeing as how things have worked out now, that happened for the best.”
Where can people find your product?
“They can find it at any Kroger. More than 400 Kroger stores carry it,” Figaretti said. “We are available at a lot of gourmet shops, and of course you can find us on the internet.”
Did you have to alter the sauce to meet FDA requirements?
“In our situation, I had to add a little bit of citric acid to the original recipe. That was to drop the PH level to an acceptable level, but that was about it,” Figaretti said. “The sauce was just about ready as it was.”
What is one piece of advice you would give a entrepreneur?
“I think you [Jim] hit it spot on when you mentioned having the passion for starting The Positively West Virginia Podcast,” Figaretti said. “You have to have the passion. If you don’t have the passion in the least, it’s probably not going to happen.”
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