Local pizza restaurant boosts local food economy

Baking a pizza can be as simple as 1, 2, 3. Dough, toppings, bake. But at Pandora’s Pies in Elon, it’s a little more complicated.

When Peter Ustach decided to open up Pandora’s Pies, he also decided to go local.

“[Buying locally] gives people jobs, supports local farmers and creates more jobs in the area,” Ustach said. “It’s just keeping the money in a smaller circle. So in a sense, t’s gonna be healthier and more profitable for everyone.”

One of those local business owners Ustach supports is Giacomo Santomauro, who owns and operates San Gieuseppe Salami company right up the road.

Santomauro calls himself “the everything man,” because he does everything at his company.

“[I'm a] Salami maker, sausage maker, owner, boss. Pretty much all of the above,” Santomauro said.

Every week Santomauro and his workers make salami, sausages and other deli products. And those ingredients end up on pizzas at Pandora’s.

Ustach and Santomauro both agree buying local makes a difference.

“It’s made here, it’s sold here,” Santomauro said. “It’s not sitting in a cross dock for six months on the way to the East Coast.”

When buying a national product, only seven percent of that cost goes back into the local economy.  But when buying local, 40 percent of that cost comes back to the community.

However, buying local is more expensive. A pizza at Pandora’s Pies with Santomauro’s pepperoni costs $16, while the same pizza at Domino’s, the national chain, will only cost $12.49.

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