Appreciating People for Success
As we continue our look into the work of Northwest Arkansas entrepreneurs Misty and Bobby Dennis, we discover more about their journey into opening MidiCi-The Neapolitan Pizza Company in Rogers. On her own, Misty has a successful interior design business that specializes in commercial and residential remodels, along with new construction design. The couple has recently added another business to their portfolio with the opening of MidiCi. “It’s kind of one of those crazy ideas that just made sense all the way around,” Bobby says. When talking about the restaurant, Misty will say that MidiCi is Bobby’s project, but he is quick to argue that they are both part of making the business work.
Bobby Dennis cut his teeth in the supplier community, where he began working as an intern in college, and continued to work for two decades. He credits his business savvy to simply being at the right place at the right time, while the vendor community was witnessing tremendous success. “My luckiest part in life is rubbing up against great people and learning from them, but also just getting great experience,” he says of that time.
Bobby has parlayed his love of data and sales into a new career as proprietor of MidiCi. While he expected that getting into the food industry would be fun, there have been some surprises along the way. “I didn’t realize how many people work in this industry and feel like they don’t matter,” he says, which has been a real eye opener for him.
Meeting the needs of his customers is something that Bobby works hard on. He consults with experts in the local food community to develop custom menu items like house made marshmallows, bruschetta and gluten free bread, for example. “I think seeing that we can make a difference in how people feel is probably the most exciting part of what we’re doing,” he adds.
Overall, the Dennises were drawn to the concept of MidiCi because it was a design they liked, and they liked the food and the high quality ingredients it uses. “We believed in it,” Bobby says. He also credits his wife as being a great partner during the construction process and knowing how to tackle the big projects one step at a time.
Bobby recalls his first job working in the vendor community; he was very driven and always left the office feeling enthusiastic and passionate about his work, even after a long day. But he also knew that his hard work would be noticed. That early experience taught him to appreciate his own employees. “I would take half the money to go back to that time. I was so excited and it felt good to contribute and make a difference,” he remembers. He learned that showing appreciation for others’ work also provides them with great motivation to succeed. Because of that, it’s important to him that his staff knows they are appreciated. He hopes that they will use their positive experiences to benefit other workers in the future.
The couple laughs when asked what comes next for them. While they are open to having additional locations, they first want to focus on having the best service right now. Bobby says he and his team are working to improve and modify the current MidiCi model to meet their customers’ needs. For Misty, she hopes to work more in the design building process, which would enable her to work on a project from the ground up. “We’re both here right now and trying to make it work as best as we can,” says Misty.