LUDLOW, Vt. – Craig and Jessica Goodman can hardly believe they’ve been making pizza for 20 years; but they remember when they first opened their doors, they would prop their infant son Clint’s car seat in the sink. “You don’t think you’ve been making pizzas for 20 years but then you look at your kids,” Jess Goodman recalls.
Goodman’s American Pie first started on Main Street in Ludlow. After 14 years in their first location – which is where Mojo’s Café is now – they moved to their bigger space in Lamere’s Square where they’ve been for the last six years, expanding their parking, table space, and visibility.
The Goodmans have continued to expand their pizza business in different ways along with the change in venue. In 2002, they started making frozen pizzas, which they originally produced in their restaurant kitchen. That part of their business has expanded so much that they have moved into a completely separate space in July of 2019 for all the frozen pizza preparation and packaging – away from phones, customers, and chaos. Their frozen pizzas are now distributed to 50 different stores, and Jessica hopes to expand beyond the state border in the coming years.
For the past nine years, the Goodmans have been seen during the summer months at farmers markets, festivals, weddings, parties, and other events with their catering truck, essentially a brick pizza oven on the flatbed of a classic antique truck.
Throughout the community, the Goodmans are known for giving back and participating in many fundraising events. Although Craig says it’s not necessarily a stated official philosophy, they believe in paying it forward.
“We couldn’t have gotten here without help and now that we’re in a position we like to be able to help other people,” Jess said. In addition to special donations and fundraising events, a percentage of their yearly frozen pizza sales go to a different charity each year.
Jess admits they had no formal business plan. “We keep showing up,” she said. Every five years or so, they have seemingly gone through some new expansion or change.
Next up for the Goodmans? Coffee.
The Goodmans have been buying raw, organic, fair trade, single-origin coffee beans for years and roasting them just for themselves. They then started gifting roasted beans to family and friends, and it looks like that may well be part of their next expansion phase.
For now, they are just happy to celebrate their 20th anniversary with family and friends at their anniversary party next week. On Wednesday, Feb. 26, they will have specials throughout the day and live music with Sammy Blanchard from 6-9 p.m. They are hoping to see a large local turnout to help share in their success. “The locals helped us get here, so we wanted to have a party that included them,” Jess said.