Pizza logs rolling right along thanks to National Grid

By Dave Bertola

When Jason Cordova was planning a new, $3.7 million manufacturing facility for his company, he turned to National Grid, which provided a $100,000 economic development grant.

“The $100,000 grant was important; it played a huge role for me,” said Cordova, who runs Finger Foods Inc., a company that his father, Robert, founded in 1991.

Jason Cordova is a former Army captain who recalls the early days of his father’s company, which began in an area behind a small convenience store in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

“I grew up in and around the business, but I never was in it,” said Cordova, who left his career in the medical device industry to take over the business when his father became ill.  Robert died in 2013.

Today, Jason designs packaging, works with distributors and travels to trade shows to spread the word of his flagship product, the Original Pizza Log. The pizza log was his father’s invention: mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and pepperoni tucked into a crisp egg roll coating. Pizza logs are sold at sporting venues, including those for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres.

Meanwhile, the pizza logs also may be found in the frozen food section of regional supermarkets. And they’re rolling westward, too, as Cordova recently shipped an order to California.

Cordova is grateful that the Niagara County  Industrial Development Agency pointed him in the direction of National Grid. That’s where he met Mary Grace Welch.

As National Grid’s lead economic development representative, Welch covers nine western New York counties. She has developed relationships with dozens of people in a variety of industries, all the while overseeing the company’s economic development programs. These include a portfolio of grants designed to incentivize business development and job creation in western New York.

“She has been a blessing,” said Cordova, who added that the electric capital investment grant was vital to helping him fund secondary electric service for the plant. “She helped me to understand all the funding that was available to a small business owner like me.”

 

 

 

 

Cordova said that the new facility and double digit growth wouldn’t have been possible without the National Grid economic development grant. The new building resulted in the company hiring more people and creating new products. The new, streamlined workspace also resulted in the company applying for – and receiving – SQF certification. In food manufacturing, the certification assures buyers and customers that the food has been prepared, handled and processed using the highest standards.

The electric capital investment grant that Cordova used is among a suite of National Grid economic development grants that offset costs associated with upgrading utility infrastructure to accommodate a business expansion or a new construction.

More information about National Grid economic development programs can be found at www.shovelready.com

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