Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza

Pete’s is not just a pizza joint. Owners Joel and Alicia Mehr, Tom and Kerri Knowles-Marr and Tri Nguyen turned their passion for food and a commitment to health into a thriving local pizzeria that focuses on using locally sourced, all natural ingredients.

Joel was the partner who first dreamed of having a pizza place focusing on the New Haven, Connecticut-style he and his wife loved. Joel had worked with Tom at the National Gallery of Art restaurant where they became friends. It seemed natural to ask him to be a partner. In April 2008, they opened their first place in Columbia Heights. Two years later, they invited Tri to join the partnership

Joel Mehr first learned about City First Bank in 2007 when he attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for the E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, which was financed through City First. Joel and Tom had tried talking to several banks about financing their dream, but no one had been willing to talk with them.

“We went to many banks, but City First was the one that sat down and talked with us. They’ve
been our bank since the beginning and have been a huge partner in helping us grow to four stores,” said Joel. In addition to the financing for their stores, City First handles their operational and payroll accounts.

As a local business, they take as much pride in supporting their neighborhoods as they do the farmers and suppliers of their natural and sustainable ingredients. When it came in to opening their first store, they wanted it to be in a growing neighborhood. The partners feel strongly that bringing capital into small businesses makes a huge difference to neighborhoods and helps them build wealth. Each new store that opens brings about 30 to 50 employees per store. All of their stores are in developing areas.

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Community Impact

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