Oct 04, 2022
Genesis Bencivenga Sr., CEO & co-founder, Lorenzo's Frozen Pudding
I am from the LeClaire Courts, which is inside of Chicago, Southwest side. And it's just a low income area, not too much access to anything financially over there.
I was a kid when I started with my dad, and it was fun. I came home, we were doing our thing in the kitchen, because he's a really good cook. I do the same thing. So we come in the kitchen and we make banana pudding, and then we started doing these various flavors.
My father realized that the dessert was more than just a dessert. It's an opportunity to bring in an income for his family. He started it. That's why it's Lorenzo's Frozen Pudding.
I've always watched him throughout my life. He's always wanted to be an entrepreneur. He's always invented stuff. I knew that that was the right time to do it together.
The first time, we went into about nine stores, and we were making it ourselves, we're putting it on the shelves ourselves. It was just a lot. And we're selling out.
So the second time we entered stores, we had about 50 to 55 stores in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. And at this time, my husband was a part of it. And then we were still spread too thin, because every time we're doing demos, we sell out. And I guess that's a good problem to have. But we don't have anything on the shelves. And honestly, trying to get access to capital, it's not like my parents have any relationships with anybody to say, "Hey, I have this relationship with a bank or this private investor," or anybody like this. So that wasn't happening on our side. So we phased out of stores in 2017.
Our third reentry into retail stores, our third relaunch, third time's the charm. We knew where we were going and wanted to do it bigger. We had to do it bigger.
My main objective was to obviously get a co-packer or somebody to make this product scalable. So the huge thing was unlocking the co-packer manufacturer. And that's my guy, Pete Palazzolo, in Michigan. I definitely locked with him, and he's making a product, and it's the same great taste which I love. Lorenzo's Frozen Pudding went from making 200 units a day to now 2,700 units in half a day.
The Walgreens top shelf experience was very instrumental. Whether it is talking to Walgreens buyers, different foundation of pieces for my business plan, putting together pitches, and, like, really figuring out what I want to do and how I want to move forward in this business.
When I restarted this third time, like, I felt good, mainly because I was looking back at younger Genesis, and I was thinking about all the things that she did to get to the point that we were at. And relaunching this third time was like, "Wow, I'm really proud of you to getting us here." Started with my hands in a house with my dad, it's literally in Walgreens stores. How does that happen? You're asking me how it happened. I'm like, "I don't know, girl, it's there." It's a lot of time. It's a lot of being patient working on your craft.
The future of Lorenzo's Frozen Pudding is to be international, to be global, to be a household name, a household legacy, so grandma can have some and give some to the grandkids when they grow up, to give some to their grandkids. So that is the future of Lorenzo's and can't wait for it.
I am Genesis Bencivenga Sr., CEO and co-founder of Lorenzo's Frozen Pudding. This is my Shelf Life.