Forget trying to establish roots in the community.
Business partners Ben Rold of Greenwood and Doug Stoehr of Lee’s Summit were firmly entrenched as residents of the area before they ever opened the doors of Sarpino’s Pizzeria, 506 S.E. Missouri 291.
Heading into their 10th month of operation, the owners of the Italian-styled pizzeria have reached out to local schools to not only brand their business’s name, but to put a stamp on their philosophy of philanthropy in the Lee’s Summit community.
“We’re trying to make a lot of connections, obviously,” Rold said Oct. 3 as the duo and three of their workers begin preparations for the day’s opening. “We’re doing a Greenwood (Elementary School) Sarpino’s Night next Tuesday night (Oct. 8). We’re doing two for Summit Pointe Elementary School coming up. We’re trying to reach out to (the schools). We’ll see how things go and keep branching out from there.”
Stoehr, who resides in the Raintree area of the city, said the last 10 months has given he and his business partner a chance to shine a light on their commitment to community endeavors.
“All the teachers and administrators in Lee’s Summit we give them a discount and specials,” Stoehr said. “We try to reach out to the policemen and the firemen and they get 50 percent off for any order that they have. We try to reach out and help the community. We’re trying to do anything that we can and we try to focus on Lee’s Summit, the area that we are in.”
Boasting an array of choices, Sarpino’s prides itself on the concept of fresh dough, fresh produce and fresh sauces for its traditional, specialty and gourmet pizzas. Other menu items include pastas, calzones, salads, wings, sandwiches, sides and a couple of dessert options. Open 365 days a year – or as Stoehr said, “we’re open rain, sleet, snow, sun, seven days a week” – the business has no delivery charge on its orders.
Sarpino’s delivers throughout all of Lee’s Summit and operates from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m., delivery and all. There are only five other Sarpino’s in the Kansas City metropolitan area and online ordering is also an option.
“People really like the fresh product that we are bringing them,” Rold said. “We make dough fresh everyday, we bring all of our vegetables in whole and slice and dice everything ourselves. We grate our own cheese, which is a huge deal. People taste the freshness and on top that the huge menu that we have. It’s a full gourmet Italian kitchen with no sit-down. We are free delivery and carry-out. That’s a huge benefit.”
Staff-wise, the local eatery employs 15 drivers, and another 15 employees to help run the day-to-day operations that Stoehr oversees. Rold, who said 95 percent of the business’s employees are ‘Lee’s Summit kids’ handles the marketing and community partnerships Sarpino’s is trying to establish with local entities.
“A lot of the kids that work here attend the schools,” Stoehr said. “We’re really focused on the schools. That’s where we have spent a lot of our time and focus and trying to do what we can there.”
The benevolent work spirit of Sarpino’s has helped employee morale.
“I love working here,” said Gary Hopper, a manager at Sarpino’s and an 18-year veteran of the food industry. “It’s fun. Great music, great owners; everybody gets together, we do things, we get it done. It’s really fun to work here.
“The customers are great. We get ‘em coming in and they’ve never had us before. The try it and they love it. We’ve got people from Independence; we’ve got people from Warrensburg that come here because we are the only Sarpino’s they’ve got.”