Entrepreneur taking ‘leap of faith’ to make dream successful in South Fayette
For the last four years, Tim Ruhl’s job in the construction field as a traveling carpenter has allowed him to see other people achieve their dreams.
It also created an opportunity for the 29-year-old laborer turned entrepreneur to have the guidance and boost he needed to do the exact same.
Ruhl decided to purchase property at 536 Millers Run Road in South Fayette to make that dream into reality, turning Morgan’s General Market & Café into a neighborhood spot to pick up food from a wide-variety menu to create an initiative for healthier eating since opening May 11.
“I have always dreamed of opening a pizza shop,” Ruhl said about growing up and wanting a similar atmosphere of the pizzeria he worked at as a teenager. “My food habits have changed more into a healthier realm. I just realized I could just focus on healthier foods that are all natural and preservative free and still get the taste that everybody loves. We are here to serve quality and healthy food.”
Focusing on pure ingredients with no preservatives or additives, the Kennedy Township native was led to a space where he could provide a healthier alternative for quality takeout food.
“I already knew I could do the construction,” he said. “I knew that I could come up with a menu. My biggest fear was if the healthy approach was too much. Is the world ready for that? Is a neighborhood ready for that?”
Those questions were asked a lot more frequently as chain restaurants opened at the Gateway Shops a few minutes away as part of the Newbury project, along with other competition in the township that wasn’t there when he bought the building in January 2016.
“In my research, I found South Fayette didn’t have restaurants similar to this at the time. It raised my eyebrows,” Ruhl said. “I was concerned at first and I’m still concerned. It’s competition. At the same time, we are serving a lot of different food than them. Most of those are chain restaurants, which are great, but you won’t get the same tender loving care.”
While immediate competition was unexpected for Ruhl, another issue he has had to deal with is the association of the previous business in the establishment that had the same name and signage.
“We aren’t the same company, we’ve just utilized the sign,” he said. “That’s about to change in the near future to break us apart from the previous establishment.”
Ruhl is planning on shedding the inherited business name and starting fresher than his ingredients, with a different name and logo to better represent what he offers. He currently has a handful of names and ideas being evaluated through market research, ultimately with the hope of personalizing his endeavor even more within the next three months.
“It’s a learning process and it’s definitely a risk,” Ruhl said about using the saved up funds to pursue that childhood dream. “It was a surreal feeling when we opened. We had a lot of smiling faces that came out that day. That sparked the enthusiasm even more to just keep going.”