Macy’s Place Pizzeria is a local spot that’s most well-known for their “Instagram Pizzas” – aka the crazy concoctions owner Nick Argy creates and posts on social media, which almost immediately go viral.
Nick has been in the pizza-making business for a while, so getting to instant-virality took lots and lots of practice. “’I’ve been making pizzas since I was 16 I believe. I’m 31 now so it’s practically all I know these days. Started out in high school at a shop on Grand Island and then my family decided to get into the business when I was 19 and the rest is history.”
“[I] definitely started taking it much more seriously in my later 20s, and I have been much more passionate about Macy’s particularly over the last 3 years. I guess you could say I’m a professional pizza maker, although I’m arguably equally as good at marketing/social media as well. At this point I don’t even look at either as work and just as hobbies of mine. Creating and building a new product. Then marketing it. Then producing it. Then selling it. It’s rather fun and it seems to make people rather happy so that’s pretty neat.”
There’s no shortage of pizza places in WNY, so how do you get yours to stand out? Get crazy.
“…The problem was standing out in a very crowded Buffalo pizza scene. There’s hundreds upon hundreds in WNY. Every neighborhood has a spot or 5 to get the usual cheese and pepperoni pizza and medium wings. So I decided to just start producing new and exciting pizzas. And once I started I couldn’t stop. This really only happened 2 ish years ago in early fall 2019. We had won that Sexy Slices pizza contest in June 2019 so we got some cool regional exposure from that. A few months after that I just started being myself and being creative and imaginative with the pizza shop. Customers and social media were really digging it and I haven’t really looked back. Problem solved. Be creative. Be imaginative. Stand out from the crowd. Be yourself.”
That decision helped successfully change the course of Macy’s Place dramatically – and increase their revenue.
“When we first started there was maybe 5-6 of us and we’ve got a staff of 20 now. Revenue is probably 5x to 6x higher than our first year in business, although you have to factor in inflation at this point over the last 10 plus years. It’s definitely a full scale operation these days for just a “take out pizza shop”. We went from a neighborhood-centric place to a regional destination, so our “neighborhood” has gotten much bigger over the last few years. Even though our customer base has grown dramatically we’re still just in our original location, but I’m sure that’ll change someday. I need a bigger kitchen for all my ideas.”
We asked Nick to share some of his biggest business tips for other local business owners and entrepreneurs that he’s learned throughout his journey, here’s what he had to say:
Business Tips from Nick Argy:
1) What’s the most beneficial form of advertising in your opinion?
“In my opinion it’s instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I’ve had tremendous success with those 3 platforms building and expanding a customer base. I have paid to play here and there over the years, and when I first got going with Facebook I paid to play a ton. Did the whole Boosted posts and all that. Still do here and there, but for the most part it’s all free! Yes I do buy the new iPhone every year to make sure I’ve got the latest and greatest camera system for pizza photography, but besides that social media is generally free. I’ve built up a crazy huge following with those 3 platforms so at this point it’s rather easy to produce a new menu item and start selling it the same day I post it – which is a pretty awesome ability the pizza shop has.”
2) What advice would you give a local business that’s just starting out? Or is there something you wish you knew along your journey?
“Be yourself. Find your voice and use it. When I utilize my social media to connect to my customers or potential customers about a new item we’re bringing in or that is already out I’m using my voice, my personality, my attitude, my goofiness to connect and it’s genuine and I think people get that. Be weird. Be creative. Be imaginative.”
3) What has been the most helpful tool for running your business?
“The Toast Point of Sales System. Excellent system that we’ve had for almost 3 years now, and we would never be where we are today without it. Between the online ordering system and the Door-dash direct integration it’s done wonders for our sales growth. Plus employees find it easy to use. and the backend of the system is crazy in-depth for running the business. If you’re starting a restaurant or any kind of eatery – it’s a must have.”
4) What’s your strategy for creating content on social media?
“Well I’ll have an idea first off. Usually these days it’s a new pizza we’re gonna sell. Create it. Build it. Get some dope photos and or video. I may have the Guinness world record for pizza photos in my iPhone. Then comb through the photos find the one I like. Do some editing. Figure out a caption. Add a crazy amount of hashtags. Then post away on the ‘Gram, Facebook, and Twitter and hope for the best. There’s no particular grand strategy, I guess I kind of go off of a feeling when posting. How I’m vibing that day and what’s going on around me as ridiculous as that may sound. Just kind of feel it out and hope people react positively to it all. Like I said it’s me just being myself and using my voice to connect to people.”
5) What’s the best business advice you’ve ever been given?
“The Man in the Arena” – “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” -Teddy Roosevelt