"The Challenges of Starting a Business in 2009," a talk by a Fairfield University graduate about his adventures as a specialty food business entrepreneur


What: Johnny Vaccaro, a 2007 graduate of Fairfield University's Dolan School of Business, will talk to students about starting Urth Organics, which sells unpasteurized organic and raw Sicilian almonds to Mom and Pop grocery stories; and his latest venture, Dolci Di Casa, a purveyor of Italian specialty desserts. Vaccaro, who majored in Marketing with a minor in Communication, works during the day at a division of Time Inc. in Stamford, Conn.

When: Tuesday, April 7, 7 p.m.

Where: Fairfield University's Dolan School of Business, Assistant Professor Dr. Cathy Giapponi's "Strategic Management" class, Room 110A.

Why: Vaccaro's love of good food inspired him to become an entrepreneur. "It all starts with passion, and mine is definitely food," he said. "I have always been intrigued by business owners and how they got started with a unique product and idea. Every time I read Entrepreneur magazine, I learn about how little ideas can turn into big successes. For me, it came down to saying to myself, ‘That could be me one day.' "

Background: Vaccaro values healthy and organic food. After conducting research and brainstorming ideas with friends, he decided to start Urth Organics in January 2008. Urth sells unpasteurized organic and raw Sicilian almonds to independent grocery stories.

Dolci Di Casa is his latest venture. Focusing on the home delivery of Italian specialty desserts, the company's main products are Tiramisu and Italian biscotti. "My Mom has the Midas touch in the kitchen, so she's key to the company," he said. "Anything she touches turns into the most delicious thing you will ever taste, including her Tiramisu and biscotti. We agreed we needed to start selling her desserts, because they are too good not to."

"All my Dolan School classes are helping me now. I liked Dr. Giapponi's "Strategic Management" class so much. It focuses on real world business scenarios. It takes everything you learn in all the other classes and couples it into a real world focus: SWOT analysis, ethics, tax laws - it is all very relevant."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 6, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 287

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