La Verne Magazine
"La Verne's Small-Town Businesses"
Creating a Warehouse-Sized Pizza Business
by J.R. Gonsalves
illustration by Stephanie Lesniak
At 6 foot 1 inch, with silver grey hair, box-squared glasses and a smile
that doesn't quit, Ken Schonfeld finds great success running Warehouse Pizza.
Ken, or Kenny as the majority of people call him, was born in Pomona
in 1955. Schonfeld grew up in Claremont, where he attended elementary, junior
high and high school, before leaving for San Diego State University. While
earning his B.A. in social work, Schonfeld began his career at the Cask
and Cleaver restaurant in San Diego. He was a waiter through his stay at
Following, he commenced work on a master's degree but decided his true
interests were found in the restaurant business. He left San Diego State
University. "I realized that I was making more money at Cask and Cleaver
then I ever would doing social work," says Schonfeld. He says his stint
with Cask and Cleaver taught him restaurant managerial and business skills.
In 1983, Schonfeld got the chance to put his knowledge to the test when
he and four other men, Cliff Scott, Dick Burns, Gary Giargosian and Mike
Hogan opened Sneakers, a restaurant bar in Claremont.
Schonfeld needed a dependable bar manager for Sneakers, and he turned
to Kirk Anderson, a person with whom he has shared a life-long bond since
junior high school in Claremont. The feeling is mutual. "After 20 years
I still consider him my closest friend," says Anderson.
Schonfeld and Anderson launched into running the restaurant, although
Anderson did not have part ownership. For Anderson, his beginning, like
Schonfeld's, was not at the top.
However, in 1986, Anderson would get his chance, as Schonfeld did, to
join in a true restaurant partnership.
When the opportunity came, he asked Schonfeld for assistance. Schonfeld
agreed, and the two men purchased Warehouse in La Verne. However, according
to Anderson, he was not sure what he wanted to do with the existing Warehouse
Pizza restaurant when he first thought of buying it. "Initially I was
going to buy it, gut it and then sell it," says Anderson. "People
in the town said that the business would do well where it was. So, I approached
Ken with the idea."
Schonfeld and Anderson pursued the Warehouse Pizza concept and turned
it into a big success. But at the beginning, Schonfeld said he did not put
his full effort into Warehouse.
"At first, I stayed with Sneakers because business was not that
good at Warehouse," says Kenny. "When business picked up, I sold
my share of Sneakers to my partners and put all of my time into the enterprise."
Warehouse Pizza's business took off, but there was something that Schonfeld
found that would benefit him even more financially.
"I realized how much money was made at pizza places off pinball
machines," says Kenny. "So I started buying video game machines
and renting them out of my house."
Schonfeld had stumbled across another business investment. He named
his new business "Game Promotions," and in 1988 Schonfeld's hunch
became a reality, when Game Promotions started bringing in customers.
Anderson and Schonfeld had plenty of success at Warehouse, but Anderson
wanted to expand. The problem was that Schonfeld was content where he was.
In 1996, Anderson followed through with his idea and moved to Colorado
with some friends to a developing area 70 miles from Colorado Springs called
Silvercliffe. There, Anderson's supporters quickly renovated an old building
in the historic mining town, and Anderson opened his own restaurant: Pizza
Madness. The same menu from Warehouse in La Verne was used, and currently,
the business is doing well, Anderson reports. "I went to the opening
of his new place,[Pizza Madness}" says Schonfeld. "He is doing
well."This summer, Anderson is planning to open a new restaurant near
The two men are separated by distance, but their friendship stays strong.
Schonfeld says that the two talk on the phone regularly, but both wish that
things were different. "I wanted to capitalize, and he did not. I wish
he were with me though," says Anderson.
Schonfeld is currently working on plans for a new restaurant in La Verne,
named after his wife Roxanne. He is going to open the restaurant next to
Lordsburg Roasters, in the building that he and his partners own.
There is more behind the planned Roxy's, however. Before Schonfeld bought
the property, there was a pizza place about to be opened, but before anything
was done to open the pizza place, Schonfeld bought the building.
"I didn't want any competition with Warehouse, so I bought the
property," says Schonfeld. Roxy's will not provide any competition
for Warehouse, but it will provide an added income for Schonfeld, just as
Game Promotions did.
Schonfeld is married to Roxanne and has two girls, Jessica, 13, and
Sasha, 10. The family lives in San Diego. Schonfeld commutes to La Verne
several times a week.
For Schonfeld and Anderson, business has not been hard to come by. One
has to think, "Some people are just made for running a business."
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