Scott Borland Interview
(Mamma Lombardi's Sauce)
Mamma Lombardi’s Ristorante has been a fixture of Holbrook, N.Y. since 1976.
Besides the food, it’s the pasta sauce that’s helped make Mamma Lombardi’s famous. And now, that pasta sauce is available in a jar.
Scott Borland of Mamma Lombardi’s talked with us about the sauce, his background, and Mamma Lombardi’s.
Q – Scott, what is your position with the co?
A – I’m the Director of Lombardi’s Specialty Products which is the corporation that oversees the sauce. We actually do oil as well.
Q – What does your job duty include?
A – Pretty much everything. This is a company within a company ‘cause we have four catering halls, three restaurants, and the sauce kind of took a life of its own a few years ago. People kept coming into our restaurants and we have a gourmet market and we started producing it for that. Everybody was asking for our sauce. It’s just really taken off. It’s done very well.
Q – Is there really a Mamma Lombardi?
A – Absolutely.
Q – Is she still alive?
A – Yup. She’s 81 years old and her husband is still alive. He’s 86 or 87, I believe.
Q – Does she still play an active role in the co?
A – Yes. She still goes into the original restaurant 3 days a week. She’s great. There’s 8 brothers and sisters. They were born in Italy. All but one was born there.
Q – When did this pasta sauce first make its appearance on the grocery shelf?
A – Six, seven years ago.
Q – Where are you marketing it?
A – We are in pretty much every grocery store location in Long Island.
Q – Don’t you find this pasta sauce business is a very crowded market place?
A – Absolutely. Very competitive.
Q – How then do you make your sauce stand out?
A – We do some local advertising. My main source of advertising is demos. I do demos consistently with Costco, consistently with all the supermarkets were in. I do it everywhere, ‘cause once somebody tastes it, that’s it.
Q – You got ‘em hooked.
A – Yup. I always say, ‘Once you taste some, I’m done with you’. It’s very good. It’s as close to homemade as you’ll find any place. We actually taste it before it goes into the jars to make sure it tastes like the restaurants.
Q – What I’ve noticed is a grocery store like Wegman’s has pushed aside the gourmet pasta sauces, and placed at eye-level their own sauce, and selling it for 99 cents a jar. Now, how are you going to compete with that?
A – You know, I don’t make a living on the sauce, so I’ve got a little bit of a luxury here. Our business is based on our restaurants and catering halls that we do. The sauce is a by-product of that.
Q – Do you have any celebrities endorse your product?
A – We have Steve Smith of The Giants, wide-receiver. We actually did a billboard in New York City. His agent called me the day I put it up and said, ‘I don’t know anything about Mamma Lombardi’s sauce. I don’t know anything about you, but my guy Steve Smith told me he had your sauce last night and it’s the best sauce he ever had. We actually did a billboard with him as well.
Q – How up the ladder would you like to take Mamma Lombardi’s?
A – Once we’re in Stop’n Shop Long Island will be pretty much covered, then to shoot down the east coast. There’s a lot of New Yorkers on the east coast. A lot of our sales are based on the fact that people know our restaurant. The Lombardi family has been a business for 40 years. They’ve been around a really long time, and are very well known throughout Long Island and New York.
Q – Your territory is wide open at the moment.
A – Oh, absolutely. We really just started doing this about 4 years ago getting serious with it. We actually sell our product online (www.mammalombardis.com) and on www.amazon.com
Official website: www.mammalombardis.com
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