By Sara Flanders, Wood Street Communications
Tucked away in the quaint neighborhood of Upper Lawrenceville, Katt Schuler can be found doing what she does best – rolling pepperoni. Schuler, a West Virginia native, moved to Pittsburgh to attend Point Park University, but quickly fell in love with the city and the connections, and decided to stay. She soon found herself missing the Appalachian culture she grew up with and wanted to bring that culture to the city in the form of pepperoni rolls.
Schuler’s new business, aptly named Rolling Pepperoni, initially took root in Millvale, a nationally- recognized eco-district in Pennsylvania and Platinum certified Sustainable Pennsylvania Community. While there, Schuler worked closely with Zaheen Hussain, Millvale Sustainability Coordinator and Sustainable Pittsburgh Board Treasurer, on how to grow her new business sustainably. Hussain inspired the direction of her business, because he showed her that sustainability was more than simply “going green”, and it can actually help cut costs in the long run.
In 2017, Schuler found herself inspired to participate in the Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge. Since her business was still fairly new, Schuler was able to use the Master Playbook designed by Sustainable Pittsburgh to stimulate the formation of the business by providing examples to establish policies and procedures. Schuler says the Master Playbook was “really thought out and straight forward” and made it simple to implement policies. The Master Playbook helped Schuler make changes as well as reaffirmed cost-cutting measures she already had in place.
Schuler says getting involved in the Challenge and meeting other businesses helped increase her reach in the community, which made participating well worth it. She always felt Pittsburgh was a great place to easily connect with others, so she was excited to see it benefit her growing business. She explained, “getting to connect with others who are also sustainable was awesome”.
When asked what her favorite part of the Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge was, she felt the most important lesson was learning about herself, her business, and how the smallest actions, like using used grocery bags and recyclable containers for deliveries, can have a big impact in the community. Schuler said, “I definitely realized what is sustainable and how cost-cutting is so much bigger than we thought.”
With hard work and support from other sustainable businesses, Rolling Pepperoni placed first in the Micro-Business Division of the 2017 Challenge. Schuler feels it is worth it to participate in the challenge because it offers knowledge that any size business can benefit from. Schuler gave advice to other small businesses who may want to participate in the challenge with a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “When it’s better for everyone, it’s better for everyone.” She feels that what is good for you and your business is good for the community, and that we can all be better and do more. Schuler looks forward to what more she can bring to the challenge in 2018, and how she can continue to do better for her business, and for her community.