I’ve always been a pizza enthusiast. I’ve spent my Connecticut childhood in restaurants around the Farmington Valley—close enough to New Haven. I even delivered in 2018 for a pizza place in Avon, Connecticut.
It wasn’t until I lived in Manhattan for a research position this past summer that I realized the importance of $1 pizza. Spending $1 for an extremely solid slice of pizza in under a minute, or choosing to spend $2 or $3 for multiple slices, is a serious and inexpensive luxury. The point isn’t top quality, the point is convenience and bargain.
What’s holding back this amazing product? Today terrible inflation, caused by totally financialized and unregulated monopoly capital—corporations raising prices while posting record profits—is threatening the livelihood of all food-service businesses, particularly in this beloved slice of the pizza industry. Many $1 slices in New York City have become $1.5 and $2 slices since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic struggles for small business owners and consumers. This is only so surprising given national consumer inflation has recorded 7.7% in the previous year.
So how could $1 Pizza in Storrs, Connecticut be any different? It’s true, the business model isn’t the most profitable, and it’s highly specialized; one can’t expect to sell many other products and maintain great revenues. But there are no existing $1 slice options in Storrs, and it’s difficult to imagine inebriated college students opting not to spend $1 per slice of pizza instead spending more money at the limited alternatives for single slices. A new seller could capture substantial market share quickly by undercutting their competitors.
With the 2020 closing of our beloved 7-Eleven, Storrs is farther from $1 pizza than we have ever been. Of the four locations selling pizza within Storrs—namely Sgt. Pepperoni’s, Ted’s, Blaze and Domino’s—only Sgt. Pepperoni’s occasionally sells single slices for $2.75. Pizza Mike’s Pizzeria at the Four Corners intersection sells cheese slices for $3.50. Detractors will raise the one location nearing $1 Pizza: Cumberland Farms. Cumberland Farms sells frozen pizza for $1.25/per slice, out of a plastic, ultraviolet-light heated container.
Technically, Cumbie’s is not even within the boundaries of the municipality of Storrs. Even if it were, it isn’t accessible to most of the population in Storrs, who live near the center of campus. There aren’t bike lanes or sidewalks that lead between this gas station and campus either. How many college students are in this area on late nights, or on weekends? Location is besides the point—frozen $1.25/slice pizza is not fresh $1 pizza.
$1 pizza must be brought to Storrs. The main question for our town now is who will rise to the occasion and serve the people the product they demand? While one of the four pizza restaurants located in Storrs may catch on to this lucrative business opportunity, there is no guarantee they will not hold fast to tradition and be left in the industry’s past.
There are innumerable open spots for another pizza restaurant in Storrs. In the bustling downtown Storrs Center there is empty space next to Daddy’s Noodle Bar, within Storrs Commons (the building with Little Aladdin’s and D.P. Dough) and there are a number of empty commercial spaces in the neighborhood near T-Mobile. Even our Wingstop recently closed down, whose building makes a prime location regarding foot-traffic. There’s no shortage of locations with which to corner this market.
Obviously, one can’t create a successful business with an idea alone. Culinary, financial and potentially managerial skills are necessary, alongside multiple investors. This is why, until an establishment decides to corner this untapped market, savvy business people have begun developing their own plans to establish the best commodity Storrs has never experienced.
If you’re seriously interested in this idea, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.