For this month’s vendor spotlight we chatted with primary NFL event contractor, Pat Ryan owner of the Party Planners West, Inc. (PPW) and Business Connect (BC) vendor Michelle Mazzara, owner of Luvafoodie. luvafoodie is one of 50+ Business Connect vendors selected to take part in NFL Tailgate Event, a premiere, invitation-only pre-Super Bowl party hosted by the NFL for 10,000 VIP clients.
In its 35th year and recognized as one of the NFL’s signature Super Bowl events, Tailgate is produced by Pat Ryan and her team at PPW, a corporate event production company. Ryan commented that the event has become an overview of the Super Bowl host city and state. She describes the event as a “who’s who of food and entertainment that brings the culture of the host city to life.” So, naturally, the expectations are high for vendors. Mazzara of Luvafoodie was delighted to sit down with us and talk about the process of securing a contract with PPW, her experience so far and what this opportunity means to her business.
Michelle describes Luvafoodie as a brand that connects people who share a passion for food and beverage (a mission statement that aligns well with the goals of the Tailgate event). Her business works in three distinct categories: spice blends, Gourmet Belgian Chocolates and their signature Minnesota inspired cheese curds. Michelle and her team earned their opportunity with PPW through a combination of hard work, initiative and world class food.
In an effort to be proactive Michelle dropped off samples of their signature cheese curds at Minnesota Host Committee office in late August. That same day she received a call from Gia Bell, the Manager of Event Coordination at PPW, inviting Luvafoodie to begin a 3 stage application process to work the NFL Tailgate Event. Phase 1 is a private tasting and pitch meeting held in October. Michelle brought samples of their cheese curds and Belgian Chocolate Cookies and gave her pitch to four executives from PPW, including Bell & Ryan. Phase 2 involved contract negotiation, where Michelle put her newly acquired knowledge of contracts to good use as she set her prices per serving for the event. As of last week, Luvafoodie’s proposal was accepted and they were officially selected as catering vendor for one of the NFL’s most selective and high profile events. They are currently in Phase 3: The Credential Process, and can’t wait to see what come next.
Michelle and her team are over the moon about their selection, and as we spoke, Michelle could hardly contain the excitement and emotion in her voice. She emphasizes that they are a young company and have never participated in anything on this level or scale before. “It is once in a lifetime opportunity”, she insists, “and I know that no one on my team will forget the experience.”
Michelle believes attending Business Connect vendor meetings and Workshops early on was invaluable. She insists that this opportunity with PPW could not have happened without the Business Connect team.
Michelle and her team at Luvafoodie are waiting to find out what flavors of cheese curds they’ll produce for the event and which exact cookie designs PPW would like. Their goal is to ensure that no one will be able to tell the difference between their small company and the other, larger and more experienced caterers that will be onsite and Tailgate.
Background on NFL Contractor PPW:
Party Planners West (PPW) is an independent, woman-owned business. Owner Pat Ryan was an NFL Emerging Business (BC) event vendor when she was first invited to work Tailgate. Now, her company, PPW, leads NFL Tailgate event production. PPW has long been one of Business Connect’s strongest proponents and this year is no different, as over 50 Business Connect vendors have been awarded contracts to render services at the event. Under Pat’s leadership, Tailgate has grown from a small gathering of 500 to one of the most sought-after event tickets at Super Bowl with over 10,000 invited guests.
Waymer & Associates