Brewer Stouffer takes a lot of pride in telling The Roman Candle story. It’s one rooted in authenticity, community and a deep passion for the power of craft food. And for Stouffer, this means building a brand with an unwavering commitment to providing an option that doesn’t just taste good, but does actual good for the local community, too.
“From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to serve superior pizza in an inspiring place. I insisted on using pure ingredients and premium products—the kind that you know are quality, that come from real farms,” Stouffer said. “We went out of our way to buy food from farmer’s markets. That was a big deal at the time, and it showed our commitment to pure food and our community. It puts a human element into everything we do.”
That dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. Stouffer was recently named a 2016 Dane County, Wisconsin’s Small Business Award winner, which celebrates small businesses and the contributions they make to the Dane County communities and economy. The Roman Candle was one of 10 businesses recognized.
But it’s more than just making great craft pizzas that positioned the brand to be an award winner. Along with their commitment to quality, The Roman Candle focuses on employees’ growth opportunities and benefits. They’ve offered insurance to full-timers since 2006, and they gave away more than $65,000 in support of area schools, non-profits and community organizations focused on kids and families in 2015. Through the Community Day program, and support for key partners such as the Madison Children’s Museum, The Roman Candle is on pace to meet—and exceed—that giving total in 2016.
For Stouffer, this combination of community involvement, employee offerings, commitment to quality local sourcing and dedication to their craft is known as The Roman Candle’s “Culture of Crust,” and it’s what ultimately sets his restaurant apart from others within his community.
“This award highlights everything we do—not just our great food. It’s an award that speaks to our entire ‘Culture of Crust,’ how our entire Roman Candle family operates. I’m grateful to have passionate folks on my team supporting the values and vision—they are making the difference one pizza at a time,” Stouffer said. “We are all passionate about sharing The Roman Candle brand and values.”
Since opening the first Roman Candle in Madison, Wisconsin in 2005, it’s grown to Middleton, Fitchburg, downtown inside the Madison Children’s Museum and recently stretching to Whitefish Bay in the Milwaukee market. Now, backed by the recent Dane County Small Business Award, Stouffer hopes to inspire other entrepreneurs—the men and women who are passionate, even obsessive, about the food they eat, the food they serve and the communities they live in—to help spread The Roman Candle’s message.
“When I ask people why they like working at The Roman Candle, they always tell me they love making and serving food from scratch, and they are proud to work for a company that cares so much about everything we do,” Stouffer said. “That’s something I’m incredibly proud of, and I think that anyone else who joins The Roman Candle team will be, too.”