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A little over two years ago, Grant Arons, president of IH Brands, LLC, brought us Inizio Pizza Napoletana in South Charlotte, the wildly popular pizzeria that sees its pies baked in about 90 seconds in 1,000-degree wood-burning ovens.
Here’s how Grant works.
The Agenda caught up with Arons to get the scoop on all things pizza and how he balances all of the roles he’s juggling.
I work from home, I work in my kitchen and I work in my office. All over Charlotte.
President of IH Brands, LLC
iPhone 7 Plus, soon to be upgraded.
HP. When they die on me, I just buy another inexpensive desktop.
To-do list manager?
Old-fashioned pen and paper.
Gadgets you can’t live without?
Unfortunately, it’s the phone. It goes with me wherever I go. I feel naked without it.
Apps you can’t live without?
Google Maps. I have no natural sense of direction. Because I travel out of the city a lot, I need to know where I’m going and how to get around. A lot of times I’m so interested in where things are that I might have directions pulled up on one map app and another map app open just so I can see where something else is.
Social media habits?
No LinkedIn, no Facebook. But I am active on Instagram because I think it’s a great way to watch trends and see inspiration for different types of food.
Usually in bed around 11 or midnight. I naturally wake up anywhere between 5 and 7 A.M. My body just seems to say ‘this what you’ve got going on today.’ I don’t set an alarm.
Music at work?
I normally have silence because I’m processing a lot of thoughts. But road trips and working out require lots of music.
One Inizio is about 30 minutes. The other is about seven minutes.
How do you spend the first hour of your day, starting from when you wake up?
The first hour of the day is very regimented. First, feed the three beasts (those are the three dogs). Next, feed my two sourdough cultures. Third, grind and brew a nice pour over for myself. Then maybe I eat and get in front of the computer and check email.
What do you eat for breakfast?
Either oatmeal or eggs and veggies.
What do you actually do? Walk us through a day in your life.
This is a little tough because I have different facets of the job. I’m one part baker, one part business owner, one part future visionary. So I’m always working on one of those three aspects.
What are some unusual habits you have and why do you have them?
Sometimes the words coming out of my mouth haven’t caught up with where my brain is, so I might be answering a question but my words won’t make sense because my head is already on to something else.People that know me well know that I’ve done that my whole life.
What everyday thing are you really good at?
People development. It’s crucial to building good teams.
Best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
Surround yourself with people that can do things as well as or better than you, and then let them do it.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Complete flexibility and the ability to create the future that I want.
Where do you go around Charlotte to get away from the office?
I visit all the coffee houses, and I love mini-adventures. Charlotte is so centralized to so many things, like mountains, parks, lakes and cool towns.
What’s your favorite side project?
Owning and maintaining a local Airbnb.
If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing?
I would definitely be a business owner. I originally started school to be an attorney but realized I didn’t get to just argue with people – I had to work. I love food, so it’s hard to imagine being a business owner outside the food industry.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made?
What’s a purchase of less than $100 that’s most improved your work output or life?
A hand-crank mill to grind fresh flour.
Other than the Agenda, what media brands do you consume?
Industry-specific stuff for pizza and bakers. For national news, I use the News app on my phone. And Instagram.
Advice to your 30-year old self?
The more you fail, the more you’ll succeed.
Best job advice you’ve received?
You’re either the cheapest or the best. If you try to be anything in between, you’re going to get pushed to one end of the spectrum. I feel like that applies to not just food service but really anything.
Book you gift the most?
The business book I gift the most is The One Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. My gift to friends and family is Watchers by Dean Koontz.
What’s one thing people don’t know about Charlotte that they should?
The people and the city itself are beautiful. Traveling around, there are a lot of cities that don’t look as beautiful as ours.
What other Charlottean would you like to answer these questions?
Rachel Martin of Rachel Martin Designs. She does our branding.
I have a vacation in Hilton Head and trips to Chicago, the state of Washington and even a trip to Greece coming up.