NWRED and the Northwest Regional Planning Commission SBA Micro Loan program awarded loan funding to Gerry Ensign to expand his restauranteur abilities from a long established mobile truck business to purchasing a brick-and-mortar sit down operation.
Gerry Ensign has been in the food service industry for 25 years. Starting as a caterer of invite only (word-of-mouth effort) events, Ensign has found great success of bringing satisfaction to clients through his culinary capabilities. Ensign has catered parties as small as intimate wedding groups to corporate events of 300. Many of his customers he signs come through the catered event. Seeking to grow his culinary career, Ensign began Mia Mangia
, a mobile food truck. Mia Mangia
travels throughout the state offering Italian faire at events, parks, and fairs. Ensign has seen continued success over the last 6 years to such a degree that clients follow him around to the various events just to eat his food, and he has many repeat customers.
These customers are the reason for his expansion of the company into a brick and mortar full service restaurant. Ensign mentioned that he receives many requests about, “Where is your restaurant?” or “I’d eat at your restaurant.” Knowing that a market exists, Ensign was waiting for the right location with the right customer base to open. He has found such opportunity with the sale of The Pizza Place in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. Owned by Rich Graves, Ensign and his wife Donna purchased the assets of The Pizza Place and opened Mia Mangia on Thanksgiving Day, 2017.
Ensign feels this is the right fit for his expansion and stated, “The Pizza Place already had a captive audience who wants Italian style food.”
The expansion toward more Italian faire [including the pizza] will offer a solid lunch with buffet and a plated dinner menu appealing to a wide range of customers.
Ensign continued, “The menu model focuses on sandwich and buffet style lunches, with pizza options, and dinner options will feature more plated meals and geared toward the foodies.”
’s revolving loan funding and the NWRPC’s SBA Micro Loan Fund has helped Ensign expand his food footprint by purchasing his own store and creating 8 jobs in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. To see if your business would qualify for a startup, transition or expansion loan product at NWRPC, contact loan fund manager Ken Pearson
at (715) 635-2197.