John Mentesana grew up in a large Italian family; he always loved cooking and especially, loved eating pizza. In 2014, he opened Locale 90 Neapolitan Pizza Market—a popular local restaurant in Redondo Beach now known for its hand-made, authentic Italian pizza. The location also features a market, which sells local and imported specialty food.
Although, Mentesana worked in broadcasting for more than 20 years, he never lost his passion for pizza, “I’d host pizza parties, and I told my wife that one day I would open my own pizzeria.” In 2011, when he was laid off from his radio job, Mentesana saw the opportunity to follow his dream. Business plan in hand, he visited the Small Business Development Center hosted by El Camino College for help obtaining a startup loan.
Business Advisor Nathaniel Jemison reviewed Mentesana’s business plan and financial projections, helped him prepare his loan application and pitch, and connected him with potential lenders, ultimately resulting in a $200,000 business loan.
Locale 90 is now a favorite destination for Redondo Beach locals and visitors alike since its opening in July 2014. “We’ve had a lot of early success. It’s become a local hangout—people are really supporting it,” says Mentesansa. In fact, Mentesana paid back his loan, and the restaurant has become so popular that at the urging of customers, he’s now seeking a location for a second restaurant.
“My business advisor, Nate was very helpful,” Mentesana recalls. “He coached me in what to say and what not to say, and helped me [understand] what [lenders] are really looking for, especially when it comes to the restaurant business.”-John Mentesana, Founder, Locale 90 Neopolitan Pizza Market