It’s a success story made in Fagaloa in Samoa.
Back in 1997, a 29-year-old Ma’u’u Siaosi Puepu’emai and a friend returned to Samoa from American Samoa with the idea to set up Pizza place. They did. But like most new ventures, the place now famously referred to as.
“Georgie’s Pizza, soon struck problems."
“When my friend (palagi) left Samoa in 1999, I had a brilliant business idea to continue the business on my own. The only problem was I had no money. I was trusting God to help.”
Mau’u said he had a passion for his business but the struggle was real.
“I had to loan from all over the place just to keep my dream alive,” he said.
“I bought on credit from Tuala Oli Ah Him at the very first time for tables, spoons, chairs, table mat, I mean everything.”
With nothing more than a small oven, Mau’u was drawn to the idea of being his own boss. He started with two relatives as employees.
“I know that behind every success story is an embarrassing first effort, a stumble, a setback and failures,” he said.
“But we kept on working together...there were ups and downs in the beginning but I was told when I was young that the secret to success is to start from scratch and keep on scratching. We didn’t have much, and as I’ve mentioned before - it wasn’t easy at all.”
But the dream is alive nonetheless.
Eighteen years later, the Pizza place is not only one of the most popular in Apia, it has given birth to other business ventures including a Car Rental and a growing ‘”Ava Mai Fagaloa” Farm.
Now 48-years-old, Mau’u celebrated his Pizza place’s birthday with families and close friends yesterday.
Mau’u said when the Pizza Restaurant started to take off, he considered a secondary income. That’s how the kava plantation started.
“I started to grow ava at my village, Samamea Fagaloa to take care of the business’s basic needs,” he said.
“I found out that ‘ava’ brings me a lot of hope eventhough I need a lot of patience because it’s not like other crops and plants where you can harvest every two to three months.”
“To be honest, I almost gave up on growing ava because it takes about three to four years to grow. But as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait and are patient.”
Located on the mountainside at Samamea Fagaloa, the plantation has expanded to over 50 acres.
“As of today, I’m happy to say that the income from the ava farm is a great help for my businesses,” he said.
“The profit from my pizza and ava is good and now we have been able to set a car rental with the money we get from selling ava.
“It’s all about making good use of what God has blessed us with.”
Today, Mau’u is a contented man.
While he still struggles, he admits that he has come a long way.
“That’s how life I suppoese,” he said. “Life is very simple if you want to achieve something, you work hard for it.
“I come from a very humble beginning. I know what it’s like to not have much, and I know what it’s like to not have money and food.
“I had so many struggles but I still stuck to my dreams and I think there is still a lot of room to develop.”
Born and raised at Samamea Fagaloa, Mau’u is married to Manilla.
They have three children.
The Pizza man is a deacon of the Congregational Christian Church at Samamea and Vailoa-Uta.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have helped me to make it through especially to my brothers, Aloe, Iopu and Manuele and the Lei Sam family for the building.”