We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicholas Campisano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicholas, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve always had a drive and passion to challenge myself to be the best person I could be. And I’ve been blessed to have an amazing business partner in Joshua James, his wife, and the entire team at Born and Raised Hospitality. I also want to shoutout to my family, especially my wife, I couldn’t do this without her. Coming together to create Born & Raised Hospitality, we’re driven by our passion to have a positive impact on the surrounding community, to create a culture for our crew to thrive and showcase their amazing abilities to create a welcoming place where people can enjoy great food and service and ambience. That’s what drives us every day, to continue to be a gathering point that’s making our community the best it can be.
Social impact: how does your business help the community or the world?
Aside from creating jobs at the restaurant, there’s a ripple effect for all the other local companies you support when you operate a restaurant. Our refrigeration & equipment service company is local, Impact Printing of Phoenix does all of our menus and graphics, Southwest Glassware of Tucson, my home town, supplies our glassware, to name a few. Plus, when you create a new hangout, that positive effect expands to the building next door, creates more opportunities for another small biz to open and becomes a virtuous cycle.
Risk taking: how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career?
There’s little reward without risk, so you have to take chances to progress and move forward, and be willing to make mistakes, so long your intentions are pure. You’ll never know what you’re actually capable of, and miss your chance to be exceptional, if you’re not willing to take some risks.
If you are a parent, what do you think is the most important thing you’ve done as a parent in terms of the impact on your children?
Set a positive example, encourage them to be who they want to be, then give them the freedom to explore. Kids need to know right from wrong, but also that difference doesn’t mean judgement, and that they need to love and respect everyone. But the most important thing, which I’m always working on, is to be present and give the gift of your time.
What should our readers know about your business?
What was your thought process behind starting your own business? I’ve always had a drive and passion to challenge myself to be the best person I could be. And I’ve been blessed to have an amazing business partner in Joshua James, and the support of our respective families, especially my wife, I couldn’t do this without her. Coming together to create Born & Raised Hospitality, we’re driven by our passion to have a positive impact on the surrounding community, to create a culture for our crew to thrive and showcase their amazing abilities to create a welcoming place where people can enjoy great food and service and ambience. That’s what drives us every day, to continue to be a gathering point that’s making our community the best it can be.
What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand?
It comes down to two factors: One is that Josh and I have built a strong partnership where we care able to both challenge and also encourage each other. Plus, building a strong team and culture is critical, and it starts with leadership. That means being present, being dependable to your crew, surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals to keep challenging each other to find creative solutions, and letting them take the lead to showcase themselves and help build the business. Trust, respect and guidance is the only way to build a successful culture.
How to know whether to keep going or to give up?
Giving up is never part of the process. Yes, times are tough, but that’s just part of learning how far you can push yourself. It’s OK to take a break and recharge, to get balance in life. But that’s not that same as giving up. Getting knocked down is inevitable, but getting back up is a choice. Choose to keep moving forward, spreading positivity, and don’t be afraid of the occasional sucker punch.
Work life balance: how has your balance changed over time? How do you think about the balance?
Finding balance has always been tough. I’m a workaholic to a fault, and owing your own biz is not a 9-5 job with weekends off. When we opened the first Clever Koi, I was also just starting a family, so my wife has been a huge part of that balance, always willing to be frank with me when necessary, supporting me and being my biggest fan. Fortunately, as we’ve continued to grow, we’re put in place amazing leaders in our company who have helped ease that burden. Of course, it’s been more challenging during the COVID crisis, trying to save our business to feed our families and put a home over their heads. But still that’s not always the most important thing to them, it’s your time and attention.
What makes you happy? Why?
My family, seeing them happy is everything. But also watching the business grow, and especially seeing the people I work with grow personally and professionally is super rewarding. I’m a people person and thrive on the success of others, that’s why I’m in the hospitality business. Why did you pursue an artistic or creative career? My father is an architect and builder, so I’ve always been drawn to creative careers. To me hospitably is an artform, where everything from the structure of service, right down to the feeling of the flatware in your hands, has been specifically designed to create a feeling or ambiance. How do you define success? Being a leader who still has the willingness to grow and to challenge yourself, and finding the balance to focus on what’s meaningful. My definition of success is not based on how much you have, but how you feel about things. Anything you are personally proud of is a success.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Some of my local favorites to eat and hang out at are Pizzeria Bianco, Tacos Chiwas, Pa’la, Restaurant Progress and The Parlor in central Phoenix, AZ88 and Deflalco’s Deli in Scottsdale, and Topo, Joe’s Farm Grill and The Great Wall dim sum in the East Valley. Plus I love the Sonoran Dog stand at 20th Street and Indian School, and they are from my home town of Tucson as well, and Prep & Pastry, which is owned by my friend Nate Ares and started in Tucson and recently came to Scottsdale. My wife and I also love the new Vegan restaurant by chef Kevin LeBron called Pachamama. For lounging around, you can’t go wrong with Gracie’s Tax Bar or Lylo Pool Bar.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Dedicated to my wife, my family and friends and my business parter Joshua James.
Across The Pond, Broth & Bao and Clever Koi photos by Jaryd Neibauer. Fellow (pizza) photos by Daniel Kim.