I love pizza.

I don’t know if it was my childhood obsession with Ninja Turtles that spurred my interest or if the desire is embedded deep in my DNA, but I love it.

My first job in high school was at a pizza place. I was 15 years old and so excited to be making my own money. I worked hard to make a good impression with the management. I did whatever I was asked to the best of my abilities; washing dishes; folding boxes; making pizzas; and manning the coveted register. Once you could man the register, you knew you had made it. Oh the responsibility… it makes me drool to this day.

After a few months, we started a new campaign where the pizzas would be fresh baked and ready to purchase at all hours. It was the best deal in town and business boomed! Of course, some days were better than others and when we had down days, food safety codes required us to throw out the pizzas that didn’t sell each hour. Occasionally it was disturbing. We were throwing out 6+ pizzas an hour!

Being the idealistic 15 year old that I was, I notified the manager of the waste and asked if we could give the excess to the hungry. Her response left a bad taste in my mouth that even the garlic knots couldn’t mask,

“We can’t give it to the beggars outside! They will start hanging around the business and going through the dumpsters.”

I pressed on with the trademark teenage stubbornness that my wife tells me I am still outgrowing,

“We can set them aside and take them to the homeless shelter at the end of the night. It is still good food and those people are hungry!”

“You can do it on your own time after closing but we aren’t doing it,” she said. “End of discussion.”

Defeated. I lost the battle. I was 15 with no drivers license. The shelters were all closed by the time I got off work. I couldn’t figure out how to make it work then, but this interaction planted the seed for the concept of MOBILE MARKET nearly 15 years ago.

Over the years, I have seen this same type of waste in many different sectors. I have seen thousands of dollars worth of perfectly usable product sit on shelves or be sold for less than cost because it had gone out of style. I have seen pans and pans of wholesome food end up in the trash after business events.

After being a part of a truly inspiring exhibition on homelessness in my community, I remembered this interaction and realized that after years of working in the private and non-profit sectors, I had gained the tools to, “do it on my own.”  So that is what I did. I researched, wrote a business plan, incorporated and started to work.

I am learning every day. I am learning about the state of poverty and hunger in The U.S. I am getting to know the individuals that work day-in and day-out to feed the hungry and clothe the needy in our communities. I am meeting business owners who are passionate about their trade and want to use it to make a positive impact in their community.

These experiences have taught me that losing the argument with my boss when I was a kid wasn’t a defeat.  It was merely an exercise in growing up.  I tested wills in battle and lost.  It wasn’t the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last.  That stubborn boy still likes the sweet, sweet taste of prove people wrong – which is why he built MOBILE MARKET.

At MOBILE MARKET, we are building an incredible partner network that is strengthening our communities from within. Our work is helping businesses run more efficiently, with less waste.  We are providing product to non-profits, allowing them to focus on their missions.  We are doing well by doing good and we are inviting you to join us.

Plus, we still love pizza.

Colin Gibbs