MOHAVE COUNTY – Students, staff, faculty and community members will start seeing new faces behind the counter of the Bighorn Café on the Mohave Community College Neal-Kingman Campus.
Joseph and Natalie Cuzzone are the winners of the MCC Bighorn Café Competition. Their grand prize is a 12 month rent-free contract for a commercial kitchen with utilities included. They are also being provided free business counseling by MCC’s Small Business Development Center.
“I’m looking forward to that first day I’m hopeful and optimistic about it because I hope people have been waiting for something new…,” Joseph said. “…I can pass those smiles down and I think that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”
While serving the MCC community they are also going to give back to the community by having weekly specials where proceeds will go toward organizations because it’s part of their business philosophy.
“We built our entire philosophy on winning this café to give back to the community so with certain aspect of our menu certain meals and deals that we’re going to do will go toward charities or in this case the Foundation meals will go toward the MCC Foundation,” Joseph said.
They hope to pay if forward to the community once they get up and running through different avenues that can be beneficial to students and the community.
The Cuzzone’s have their menu finalized and are thinking of what sort of weekly specials they will be offering once they get up and running. Patrons will most likely see burgers, salads, chicken wraps, pastas and so much more.
Natalie comes from a family where food was a big deal and she was able to spark the fascination of cooking in Joseph.
“She got me into cooking and that’s pretty much what sparked it. I do enjoy cooking and I do like to see people’s smile when they eat because it’s what food is good for,” Joseph said.
The name of their business is BT’s Forge & Grill and was chosen because Joseph is part of a group and his nickname is the Bearded Tinker, so he took his name and make it part of their business.
Another plus from entering and winning the competition, the Cuzzone’s were able to receive help from Lisa Card, MCC’s SBDC director. SBDC offered various classes that are industry specific with guest speakers. The classes prepared contestants for the final steps in the competition.
“Lisa was extremely helpful she’s been amazing and I couldn’t be happier she has helped us with the LLC and has kept us in the loop,” Joseph said.
Joseph also added that Card offered invaluable resources and was able to bring questions that didn’t come to mind. The Cuzzone’s would encourage and recommend those who would like to open their own business, or to learn new things about the business industry, to visit the Small Business Development Center.
To learn more about MCC’s Small Business Development Center, visit www.mohave.edu/sbdc.