Barbara Luboff and her son Kevin combined their expertise to launch Cucina Della Cucina, a family-owned manufacturer of ravioli and related pasta products for fine-dining restaurants. Cucina Della Cucina now distributes products nationwide through a network of wholesale distributors and direct sales to customers.
In 2010, Kevin’s father, an investor in the business, met SBDC Business Advisor Ben Tenn at a social event. As they discussed the family business, which then had sales of $2 million, Tenn suggested the SBDC could offer advice to help the company grow which then led Kevin, his son to visit the Small Business Development Center hosted by the College of the Canyons.
The Luboffs always strove to improve their business, but Tenn showed them how to make it even better. They learned how to better manage inventory and adjust production runs to cut costs and increase profitability. Tenn also encouraged them to create financial projections, and advised them on adjusting their product line and pricing. Finally, Tenn showed them the value of investing in marketing and in experienced employees who could help grow their business. “Ben has been a sounding board [and] a phenomenal influence on us,” says Kevin.
Sales have increased from $2 million in 2010 to a projected $3 million-plus for 2015. Profitability is up 141 percent year-over-year, and the company has hired six new employees, with plans to add more salespeople in the coming year. Kevin is working to build Cucina Della Cucina into a $5 million business within five years, purchase their own building and expand into direct-to-consumer online sales. His next area of focus will be revamping the company’s marketing materials—with Tenn’s help, of course.
“[The SBDC] helped give us ideas for the present and ways to move forward. Had we not met [SBDC Business Advisor Ben Tenn], we wouldn’t be where we’re at today and ready for the future the way we are now.”-Kevin Luboff, co-founder, Cucina della Cucina LLC