Rainier Valley Post Interviews Tutta Bella Founder, Joe Fugere

In another installment of its People in Your Neighborhood series, The RVP has posted an interview with Joe Fugere, the founder of Tutta Bella:

Joe_With_Senator_Murray_Governor_Locke_And_President_Obama_At_Table-650x400

Fugere with Murray, Obama, Locke. Photo from whitehouse.gov

 

When Tutta Bella founder Joe Fugere says he’s passionate about the role of business in positive social change, he’s not kidding.

Ten years ago, before Columbia City was all the rage, Joe took an old building on the northeast corner of Rainier Avenue South and South Hudson Street and turned it into the Northwest’s first certified Neapolitan pizzeria, also known as the Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant in Southeast Seattle. Since then he’s opened three more wildly successful restaurants in Seattle and one in Issaquah. All of Joe’s employees — including hourly workers — have received health insurance since 2008 — years before it was mandated by Obamacare.

“My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner, because the unexpected consequences have been unbelievably positive,” he told Radius last year. “I learned that nothing trumps employee health and happiness. Our turnover is way below industry average, and it’s so great to see employees getting regular check-ups and displaying big bright smiles.”

In 2010, when President Obama traveled to Seattle to meet with several small business owners for a discussion about strengthening the economy and creating jobs, Joe was invited to participate in the discussion (above).

This week, he was kind enough to answer a few questions for your RVP’s People in Your Neighborhood column, a space dedicated to highlighting the unsung heroes of the south-end community.

Click here to read the full interview with Fugere and get some insight into the owner of one of the neighborhood’s cornerstone businesses.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: