Mark is Chairman of Stoner’s Pizza Joint, a fast-growing pizza chain in the Southeastern United States. The franchise has gone from 11 units to 18 units in less than a year, with two more locations in the process of opening. Many of the store sales have seen an increase of approximately 20% from first half 2020 to second half 2020. A serial entrepreneur, Mark is also involved in a Bitcoin mining company and several marijuana companies, including Pure Kana. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from George Washington University, and later on, went on to earn his Master’s in Real Estate Finance from NYU. Mark and his wife Erica support numerous charitable causes including the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation, JAFCO, the Lincoln Park Community Shelter, NCH Foundation, just to name a few.
Where did the idea for Stoner’s Pizza Joint come from?
I’ve been in finance and funding early-stage businesses for over 20 years. Once I became an investor in Stoner’s Pizza Joint I saw the potential and joined as the Chairman to accelerate growth.
Stoner’s Pizza Joint specializes in high-quality pizza and quality service. We’re known for our take on the growth of the franchise industry and our fresh, high-quality non-GMO food prepared in-house daily. We offer specialty pizzas, calzones, strombolis, sandwiches, chicken wings, freshly prepared salads, and the best baked chocolate chip cookies.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m always speaking with new owners, and I’m working on better ways to market stoner and move it forward. With continually talking to different people and learning as fast as I can.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I stick with the ideas and push them every day by staying on top of people and delegate tasks, so I’m not spread too thin.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Delivery and takeout get more popular every day. Stoner’s Pizza Joint has an app for easier delivery and use of our loyalty program which has been a hit. We are also in the process of rolling out the option to order pizza directly on Facebook which is a new technology we hope to pioneer.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I create to-do lists. I have certain things that I make sure to complete tasks and move on to the next item on my schedule.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Not give up; stay focused. Anything is possible, but not everything will go to plan.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Nothing lasts forever—a good example is the stock market. Many people get lost in the easiness of the market, but the market will eventually correct itself.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Never give up. Stay focused.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy is commitment. I stay committed to this business every day and make sure that my goals are achieved.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The key is to learn from mistakes. If you make a mistake once, it’s okay, but don’t do it again.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would like to see more outdoor sports programs or kid gyms. It brings kids outside and less time looking at electronics.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Giving to the homeless. It always feels good to give back to those who need it.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I love using the calendar tools with Microsoft. The reminders are great, and the sync calendar is also beneficial when scheduling meetings with others.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’d recommend Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. It talks about how he got started, his day-to-day business, and how he got to where he is today.
What is your favorite quote?
“The Best Way to teach your kids about taxes is by eating 30% of their ice cream” — Bill Murray.
- Anything is possible, but not everything will go to plan.
- Never give up. Stay focused.
- Nothing lasts forever
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.