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Behind The Crust: Bernatello’s Pizza

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By Kerry McNally, WCCO-TV

MAPLE LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) – Pizza is easily one of the most popular foods here in Minnesota and when it comes to frozen pizza, there are many brands to choose from.

But one brand comes from a Minnesota family that has built a growing frozen pizza business by focusing on the “thin” — crust, that is.

Cranking out 30 million pizzas a year isn’t easy and yet, that’s what Bill Ramsay and his family have been working towards since 1982.

“Our success has been for a number of reasons but I think you saw some of that today with our people over there,” he said. “They’re the ones that make the company go.”

Meet the extended family — all 300 of them in Maple Lake. Ramsay said his employees are the main reason Bernatellos has been able to compete with the billion-dollar big guys.

“Being the David of the pizza industry fighting those Goliaths sometimes can be in a good position to be in,” Ramsay said.

The Ramsay’s stone, in this metaphor, is their new Bellatoria Pizza.

“The ultra thin crust pizza we’ve launch Sunday Brunch, a phenomenal product,” he said.

How phenomenal? This family affair has grown an average of 14 percent annually. Ramsay said that’s just the way they like it.

“We intend to grow. We will do it on a slower basis than somebody might expect if they were a Wall Street company or whatever, we’ll just take our time,” he said.

The company’s pizzas and cheese breads are now in Costco stores all across the country. And don’t be surprised if you start seeing them in grocery stores outside of the upper Midwest as well.

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