Success Story Archive

The business owners and entrepreneurs that we assist are the driving force behind Iowa’s economic growth. Our SBDC personnel are very dedicated and diligent and always do their best to help Iowa’s businesses to flourish and grow. Each entrepreneur is unique and has a great story to tell. Have fun reading these stories and be sure to check out each company’s website or Facebook page for even more information.

Vesuvius Wood-Fired Pizza, Ames

The Iowa Small Business Development Center at Iowa State University helped Scott and Deb Coldiron develop their business plan and financial projections so they could get financing to open Vesuvius Wood-Fired Pizza in Ames.

The owners of Vesuvius Wood-Fired Pizza, Scott and Deb Coldiron, moved their family from St. Paul, Minnesota back to Deb’s hometown of Dows, Iowa in 2009. Moving back to the family farm was an opportunity for them to be close to family and a way of life that is far simpler and more fulfilling. In the beautiful Iowa countryside, Scott and Deb hope to share their many different interests and hobbies with their children, including gardening heirloom vegetables, making music, woodworking, and making and eating delicious food.

To fulfill this vision, the Coldirons opened Vesuvius Wood-Fired Pizza, a restaurant business specializing in wood-fired pizza made with local ingredients and fresh dough made every day. The restaurant also offers craft beer, wine, salads, appetizers, and dessert. Vesuvius Wood-Fired Pizza is an expression of the Coldirons’ interest in traditional craftsmanship, sustainable food production, and the love of well-made, simple food.

Scott is a chef with many years of experience in a variety of restaurants and bakeries and runs the restaurant day-to-day. Deb is an award-winning designer and author of a series of non-fiction books for children and handles the design and artistic needs of the business.

The Iowa State University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) assisted the Coldirons in opening their brick and mortar store located at 1620 S. Kellogg Avenue in Ames, Iowa. SBDC counselor Helena Poist assisted the Coldirons in developing their business plan and financial projections and has been an ongoing mentor to them as their business grows. The Coldirons were successful in obtaining a loan from Valley Bank and opened their store in January 2010. They employ four full-time and eight part-time employees.

The business took off rapidly and was well-received by the Ames community, providing both a traditional and contemporary experience to its clients. The Coldirons wanted to expand their market via the use of a portable oven, so they went back to the SBDC for assistance in getting a second, smaller loan to purchase the portable wood-fired stove.

About the assistance he received from the SBDC, Scott says, “Helena at the ISU SBDC was of great help in many areas. First, as we were developing our concept, then providing help with a business plan and financing, and as we were in our first year, providing some guidance when we were encountering some difficulties. Overall, I would say the SBDC has been a great asset to Vesuvius.”

Business is going well for Vesuvius Wood-Fired Pizza because the Coldirons take the best of traditional methods and meld it with the best local produce the Midwest has to offer to create this new local tradition. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 11-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11-10 p.m., and Sunday from 11-8 p.m.

Be sure to check out their company online at and ‘Like’ it on Twitter and Facebook. And don’t forget to stop by the restaurant and try out their excellent pizza!