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Thu, Aug. 13

Mohave Community College Bighorn Café winners hope to impact the community

Joseph and Natalie Cuzzone, shown above with their children, will operate BT’s Forge & Grill in the Bighorn Cafe at Mohave County Community College’s Neal-Kingman Campus. (MCC courtesy photo)

Joseph and Natalie Cuzzone, shown above with their children, will operate BT’s Forge & Grill in the Bighorn Cafe at Mohave County Community College’s Neal-Kingman Campus. (MCC courtesy photo)

KINGMAN – Students, staff, faculty and community members will soon find new faces behind the counter of the Bighorn Café on the Mohave Community College Neal-Kingman Campus.

Joseph and Natalie Cuzzone are the winners of the MCC Bighorn Café Competition. Their grand prize is a 12-month rent-free contract for a commercial kitchen, utilities included. They also receive free business counseling by MCC’s Small Business Development Center.

“I’m looking forward to that first day. I’m hopeful and optimistic about it because I hope people have been waiting for something new,” Joseph Cuzzone said.

While serving the MCC community, they are also going to give back to the community with weekly specials where proceeds go to organizations.

“We built our entire philosophy on winning this café to give back to the community so ... certain meals and deals we’re going to do will go toward charities or in this case the Foundation meals will go toward the MCC Foundation,” Joseph Cuzzone explained.

The Cuzzones have their menu finalized and are thinking of the weekly specials they will offer once they get up and running. Patrons will most likely see burgers, salads, chicken wraps, pastas and much more.

Natalie Cuzzone comes from a family where food was a big deal and she was able to spark the fascination of cooking in Joseph.

“She got me into cooking and that’s pretty much what sparked it. I do enjoy cooking and I do like to see people smile when they eat because it’s what food is good for,” he said.

The name of their business – BT’s Forge & Grill – was chosen because Joseph is part of a group and his nickname is the Bearded Tinker, so he took his name and made it part of their business.

Another plus from entering and winning the competition is the Cuzzones were able to receive help from Lisa Card, MCC’s SBDC director. SBDC offered various classes that are industry specific with guest speakers. The classes prepared contestants for the final steps in the competition.

“Lisa was extremely helpful. She’s been amazing and I couldn’t be happier. She has helped us with the LLC and has kept us in the loop,” Joseph Cuzzone said.

He added that Card offered invaluable resources and was able to raise questions that hadn’t come to mind. The Cuzzones encourage and recommend those who would like to open their own business, or to learn new things about the business industry, to visit the Small Business Development Center.

To learn more about MCC’s Small Business Development Center, visit www.mohave.edu/sbdc.

Information provided by Mohave Community College

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