Brock Oven Pizza Slices Up Smiles in E-town
Brock Culver is a rising junior at Elizabethtown College. He is studying Computer Science with postgraduation plans to join the flocks of young tech professionals migrating to Silicon Valley. There he hopes to join or even establish his own software start-up company. It’s clear when you meet him that Brock has developed his own entrepreneurial spirit. But what isn’t immediately clear, is how a young man studying data analytics and computer coding came to own his own pizza business.
“I’ve always loved pizza and I wanted to spread that love to as many people as I could,” Culver said. “When it came to starting my own business, it was a challenge I laid out for myself, really just to see if I could succeed at it.”
Brock began selling pizzas three years ago out of his parent’s kitchen in Palmyra, Pennsylvania. It all started with interest from neighbors and family members.
“I would see people around and just let them know I’ve started making pizzas and would deliver them whenever they would like one,” Culver reminisced. “It sort of grew from there.” The business began modestly. He would bake the pizzas in his parent’s oven and then deliver them straight to his customer’s doors. Thus, Brock Oven Pizza began in earnest.
All proceeds from Brock Oven Pizza went toward The Caring Cupboard, a non-profit food pantry, which like E-town, has roots in the Church of the Brethren. The Caring Cupboard works to feed families in need in the Palmyra community. Not only would Brock donate proceeds, but he would donate product as well, delivering pizzas to the pantry every so often.
Fast forward to March of 2019 when that entrepreneurial spirit jumped to another level and Brock decided he would purchase a used hotdog and nacho cart to start taking his business out into the community. This decision brought about new challenges that taught him a great deal about starting up a business.
“It was a lot of paperwork,” Culver said. “Once I purchased the cart on Craigslist, I had to get four different certifications so that I could sell pizzas on the street.”
It also took a few months to find the right balance of operating hours. After starting ambitiously with a six-day per week schedule, he quickly realized that a Thursday through Saturday operation was much more efficient. Brock Oven Pizza currently operates in downtown Elizabethtown on South Market St every Thursday and Saturday and at Willowood Swim Club on every Friday.
Culver has realized less is more when it comes to operations and has begun to build up a steady stream of regulars at each location. The decreased hours have also helped him to balance his busy schedule. He also works three other jobs on part-time basis.
Brock plans to operate the business throughout the summer and reevaluate his time when school begins. At E-town, he is part of the swimming team, the tennis team, E-Motion (a dance club), and the Student Senate in addition to his coursework. It was this combination of drive and work ethic that likely earned him his Stamps Scholarship to come to E-town.
So while a pizza stand in Elizabethtown and a tech start-up in Silicon Valley might be on opposite ends of the business spectrum (in concept and geographically), Brock is none-the-less capitalizing on his time as a college student in order to take advantage of every learning opportunity he can. And all the while, “slicing up smiles” wherever and whenever he can.