Local Spotlight: Pizza Casbah

by Timothy Pate

Famous for slices of pizza too large to fit on a dinner plate, Pizza Casbah has established itself as a Fort Collins favorite. The small restaurant features classic video games, a variety of beers, tasty wings and breadsticks, desserts, and of course, New York-style pizza with quite the reputation.

The Casbah was recently featured on the Food Network’s program, Outrageous Food – not surprisingly for its notorious 30-inch pizza. The segment depicts how the pizza is made – from rolling the dough to pulling the monstrosity from the oven – but the show cannot possible demonstrate why community members are drawn to the little place on Laurel.

In a college town like Fort Collins, a place like Pizza Casbah is obviously very appealing. With a number of beers from local breweries such as Odell and New Belgium that go great with a cheesy slice of pizza, all offered at a price to fit a college student’s budget, one can always expect to see the restaurant crowded with students.

But the appeal of the Casbah goes beyond the food and drink selections. The restaurant has successfully created an atmosphere that patrons enjoy while they wait for their slices. Along with the video games, the people at Casbah capitalized on today’s photo-sharing culture with a collection of photos depicting customers enjoying the Pizza Casbah experience on their west wall.

With college students being the foundation of Casbah’s business, the company gladly gives back to the Fort Collins community and Colorado State University as well.

“We are very involved in the community,” said Peter Harvey, general manager of Pizza Casbah. “We donate to almost everything CSU-related. We also donate to elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and local causes.”

Harvey and the employees also understand that competing for students’ loyalty is difficult in a place so populated with quality restaurants. The company has taken advantage of its convenient location (literally right across from campus on West Laurel Street) with weekly specials that attract students tired after a long day of studying.

Of course, being featured on a national television show doesn’t hurt business either.

Food Network found Pizza Casbah when the restaurant consistently appeared as a top result after searching for food challenges in the Colorado region. It turns out trying to devour a two-and-a-half food pizza draws some attention – who knew?

In the segment, the host, Tom Pizzica, explores the process of creating the monster pizza. Casbah’s own Pete Harvey walks Pizzica through the creation.

“Seeing myself on national television was sort of a dream come true,” said Harvey. “[The crew was] very nice…and they made us all feel very comfortable on camera so that it was a stress-free experience.”

And the result of appearing on such a popular network was easily visible.

“At one point, a group of girls from Texas came by because they saw the show while they were road-tripping,” said Harvey. “It was hands down the busiest month we have ever had.”

Business in a college town requires a different kind of mentality and ingenuity, and Pizza Casbah has definitely tapped into the student mentality and turned it into a successful business model. Swing on by the restaurant and see if you can finish a pie – and remember: they’re open extra late on the weekends.

You can watch the Food Network piece on Pizza Casbah here. Let us know what you think!


New Perspective on Economy Debate

By: Katie Kershman

Economics. For many business students it’s just a class we took on our road to more interesting things. As graduating seniors we realize our economic classes were just the beginning of our economic exposure. It’s the driving force of many of our everyday lives; it’s why graduation fills our hearts with trepidation in addition to the excitement. Like politics, we can’t escape it in the media or the way it affects our everyday lives.

Despite all the noise surrounding the current economy, there is some really interesting information out there for looking to the future. One particular article I found really pinpoints an area through which individuals can improve their economic situation. It’s titled, “Creating an Economy That’s ‘Built to Last’” by James Dyson. I’ve given the actual link at the bottom of this page, but here’s a brief summary of the highlights I found most useful.

According to Dyson, President Obama believes the key to economic improvement hinges on our ability to invent new technology that consumers desire on a global scale. The article cites the successful economic times found during war production and the space race. During these times, the economy boomed from all the new technology and inventions being produced. Unfortunately, statistics show the United States and Britain are no longer fulfilling this need for new technology and inventions. Dyson lists several startling statistics:

  • According to the National Science Foundation 85% of new jobs created by research and development are taken overseas
  • Less than 4% of Engineering graduates are earned in the United states versus 56% in Asia also according to the National Science Foundation
  • 2009 Research and Development investments between the United States and China were matched despite the fact that the U.S. filed more patents than any other country according to the National Science Board’s report, Science and Engineering Indicators 2012

In summary, to improve the economy, companies need to invest in research and development through individuals found and educated domestically. What this means for us as business students? We may want to look into getting an engineering degree in addition to our business degree. That should be an easy guaranty for success right? But seriously, as we progress through our college experience, it’s important to keep in mind the economy and the best way to make ourselves marketable in this competitive time. As business students we understand the importance of education, learning new technologies, and partnering with companies that have invented new items to promote their products. Having the ability to engineer a new product does not mean you know how to bring the product to the market. As business students this is where we can fit into the market and make a difference for the future.


Avoiding the Hamster Wheel

By: Katie Kershman

Mark Hoog, a captain with United Airlines, successful motivational speaker, and bestselling author was a guest speaker this week for Bill Shuster’s marketing capstone students. I found his presentation interesting, motivating, and moving and thought it was something important to share with all of you. During his time with my class, Hoog gave a brief explanation of his history. He is a relative local from Loveland, Colorado. At twenty-one he became a pilot for United Airlines. There he met one of the most influential people in his life, Jason Dahl captain of United Flight 93 that crashed on September 11. After a performance review, they became close friends. During the performance review, Dahl asked what Hoog would be remembered for within the company once he was gone? The question resonated with Hoog, and inspired him to take the next steps in his career that eventually led to his motivational speaking.

At the opening of his speech, Hoog explains that most people spend their life on a hamster wheel running as fast as we can with no direction and ultimately never getting anywhere. Successful people find what makes them unique. They focus their energy on their unique differentiation and it powers them to excel. This success boiled down into four categories he referred to as freestyle, passion, leadership, and contribution.

Freestyle focuses on your individual gifts. What it is that makes you a unique and special person? What do you do that is better than your competitors? Along with this idea is the second category, passion. Hoog challenges us to find our purpose. What really makes us excited? Passion is something you can’t fake. The third category changes gears and looks at the individuals around us. To be a good leader, figure out how to take one person to the top. Hoog explains that people do not want to be managed. They want to be led. The key to getting rich is figuring out how to make those around you wealthy. The final category of contribution is to live life without limits. Everyone is waiting to be noticed and given an invitation, don’t be afraid to take an interest in other people’s lives. Invite people to join in the game of life.

Hoog closed with the proclamation that the market place will always make room for excellence. The economy will turn when people stop being on the ‘hamster wheel.’ Ask yourself what it is you do to make a difference?

Best Teacher Awards

By: Katie Kershman

We’ve all had those teachers that stick out in our minds as people who have truly made a difference in our lives. The professors that helped us to discovImageer our career ambitions, instilled confidence in our abilities, and made an effort to get to know us as more than a student. The may have shared the best stories, made difficult subjects suddenly click, or  spoke the most amusing statements in class, regardless they made a made a difference in our lives.

CSU has some really extraordinary teachers – and I mean this both for their greatness and their quirks. I personally have had the pleasure of working with some great professors: Joe Cannon, Joey Dennis, Kelly Martin, Bill Shuster, Ralph Switzer, Troy Mumford, Paul Vanderspek, Doug Hoffman, and Gina Mohr just to name a few – obviously being a marketing concentration I’ve worked with those professors the most, I’m sure the professors in the other concentrations are just as wonderful.

For me, one professor really made a difference through a small act of kindness – Professor Zumwalt of the finance department. As all college graduates will attest, there are those times when a class slips through the cracks. With all the activities and jobs most business students have on top of a full class loads it’s inevitable. While taking FIN300 I experienced just this situation – and let’s face it, as a marketing student finance just eludes me. I went to Dr. Zumwalt’s office hours one afternoon, right before a big assignment was due with no clue how to begin completing it. Dr. Z was very patient with my absentmindedness and carefully walked me through four pages of problems. It obviously took quite a long period of his time. Sometimes it’s really the little things that can mean the world when we need them the most.

The Alumni Association is asking students to nominate those teachers that were ‘the best’ through the Best Teacher Awards Program and Dinner. Teachers are nominated by students and alumni and are selected by a committee comprised of faculty, students, and members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Nominations for 2012 must be submitted by 5:00 pm on Friday, February 3, 2012.

For more information or to nominate a professor visit: http://www.alumni.colostate.edu/Events/BestTeacherAwards/tabid/102/Default.aspx

Share below some of your favorite experiences with the outstanding College of Business professors!