Chris and Gina Auditore encountered more adversity than most entrepreneurs when they launched their small business, Happy Panini. The popular food truck located in Historic Downtown Hutto was born in the heart of the pandemic following an unexpected layoff from Chris’ previous employer.
“When we were faced with the adversity of Chris unexpectedly being laid off from his job of 13 years, we had to make some tough and quick decisions,” Gina said. “With no income and the pandemic raging, we decided to leverage our experience in the restaurant industry, our passion for service and our ties within the community to launch our brand.”
Chris’ 25-year career in the restaurant industry combined with Gina’s previous experience as an entrepreneur successfully came together to create Happy Panini. Located in the Farley Street food truck park, the restaurant serves up high-quality, hand-crafted paninis and salads while also offering a variety of catering options and supporting the local community. While Happy Panini is now a staple in the downtown eatery scene, getting off the ground wasn’t easy for the Auditores.
“From the start, the layoff and the pandemic made everything a challenge,” Chris said. “We both had to laser focus on our business plan and start putting the blocks in place to launch as quickly as possible. We risked all we had in savings to purchase and equip our first trailer and leaned on our family and friends for advice and support.”
Although forces out of their control pushed Chris and Gina to make the leap into entrepreneurship, the Auditores recommend those looking to start their own business make the leap when they’re ready.
“Start pursuing your dream early. Don’t wait until your back is up against the wall to take your leap,” Gina said. “If you have an idea and the passion for it, write it down, set some goals for yourself and get started now! Seek out people who have done what you want to do, ask them questions and look to them for advice.”
Visit Happy Panini at 209 Farley Street in Historic Downtown Hutto and check them out on Facebook and Instagram.
About This Series
As part of National Small Business Week, the City of Hutto is excited to shine a spotlight on local small businesses. The nationwide theme for #SmallBusinessWeek 2022 is the resiliency and tenacity of America’s entrepreneurs, who are doing their part to power our nation’s historic economic comeback. For the next couple of weeks, we’ll make daily posts on the City’s Official Instagram page to celebrate the local entrepreneurs whose businesses help make Hutto such a special place to live and shop. Follow along by visiting @cityofhutto on Instagram.