Pace Means Business

From dim sum to macarons, meet 15 businesses owned by Pace alumni.

Gal Danay and Pooja Chandnani Danay of Woops!, the largest macaron company in the United States

Woops!

Gal Danay ’09 and Pooja Chandnani Danay ’09 bywoops.com

When Pace friends-turned-married power couple Gal Danay and Pooja Chandnani Danay decided to open up a macaron booth with their friends at the Bryant Park holiday market, they didn’t anticipate lines out the door. “We literally said ‘Woops! We have a business,’” says Gal. And the rest is history. Today, Woops! is the largest macaron company in the country, with more than 50 kiosks and bakeshops across the United States, filling more than 25,000 delicious macarons each day in their Bronx bakery. The booming brand has been featured on Good Morning America, NBC News, QVC, Food Network magazine, and was named a top 14 franchise in America in 2019 by Entrepreneur magazine.

Jordyn Lexton, founder of Drive Change

Drive Change

Jordyn Lexton ’12 drivechangenyc.org

The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with almost 2.3 million people currently in prisons. For Jordyn Lexton, it was while teaching at a school for incarcerated students on Rikers Island that they realized the grave impact on young people. “They were brilliant, resourceful, and resilient. They were thinking about the same things I wanted when I was 16 or 17, but the barriers to employment for people processed in the system were incredible,” says Lexton. Determined to push social justice and change forward, they founded Drive Change, a food truck that hires, teaches, and empowers formerly incarcerated youth through paid fellowships. And now, through a $2.6 million grant from the Manhattan DA’s Office and partnerships with 15+ NYC restaurants, Drive Change is gearing up to impact even more lives.

George Valiotis of Pace Glass

Pace Glass

George Valiotis ’12 paceglass.com

“Recycling is a problem that’s going to be solved by our generation,” says George Valiotis. And as owner and CEO of Pace Glass Recycling, he’s leading the charge. A technologically-driven glass recycling company that services the entire Northeast, Pace Glass specializes in recycling common household waste often land-filled due to exorbitant levels of contamination, recovering the mixed glass present in that stream and turning it into highly-refined cullet (recycled broken or waste glass), and selling it back to the market to be remade into com­mon household and industrial products. To date, Pace Glass has recycled 104,877 tons of glass, and that number is expected to skyrocket to up to 800,000 tons per year as Valiotis and his team recently broke ground to build the world’s biggest glass-recycling plant in Andover, New Jersey.

Lee Zalben, founder of Peanut Butter & Company

Peanut Butter & Co.

Lee Zalben ’03 ilovepeanutbutter.com

Like many kids, Lee Zalben loved digging his finger into a jar of peanut butter. But that’s not why he’s called “The Peanut Butter Guy.” The founder of Peanut Butter & Company, which began as a sandwich shop in NYC, Zalben runs one of the largest peanut butter brands in the world, sold in more than 15,000 supermarkets and natural food stores, and known for their all natural flavors from peanuts grown by farmers in the United States. Whether you’re team crunchy or team smooth—or fan favorite Dark Chocolatey Dreams—there’s just one thing for you to do: grab a spoon.

Wilson Tang of Nom Was Tea Parlor

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Wilson Tang ’00 nomwah.com

Wilson Tang was working at Morgan Stanley in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In the days that followed, he began to question his life’s purpose and decided it was time to trade in his suit for an apron and pursue his passion: food service. So when his uncle was looking to sell Nom Wah Tea Parlor and retire, Tang was ready, and Chinatown’s oldest dim sum restaurant was about to get a new spin. By extending the restau­rant’s hours and serving dim sum for dinner, Nom Wah saw even more success, and centralizing where dumplings are crafted and improving inefficiencies led to making thousands of dumplings each day. Under Tang, Nom Wah has expanded to Philadelphia and Shenzhen (China), as well as a fast-casual restaurant in Nolita, and is gearing up for its 100th birthday celebration in 2020. “This is a journey,” says Tang. “Entrepreneurship should last your lifetime.”

David Arabov of Wing

Wing

David Arabov ’12 wingalpha.com

As a Pace student, David Arabov founded his first business Elite Daily, with the ambition of creating a publication that would disrupt traditional media and truly speak to the Millennial generation—and it did, with an audience of more than 74 million monthly unique visitors. After selling the website to The Daily Mail for $40–$50 million in 2015, Arabov set his sights on disrupting another industry: cell phone service. Billing itself as “a phone carrier that’s actually nice to you,” Arabov’s latest venture, Wing, offers flexible and unlimited data plans, cost savings, helpful customer support, and “the best coverage on the nation’s top network.”

Brian Halloran ’90 and Jolina Halloran ’89

Break the Hold Foundation

Brian Halloran ’90 and Jolina Halloran ’89 bthbreakthehold.org

January 23, 2018, is a day Brian Halloran and Jolina Halloran will never forget. They had lost their son Brian to suicide. While the days that followed were filled with grief, the Hallorans knew they had to do something. In honor of Brian, they established the Break the Hold (BTH) Founda­tion, which is bringing critical mental health education to school systems throughout Westchester and nearby communities. Through programming for middle and high school students, parents, educators, and the community, BTH is providing education about suicide, raising awareness of the warning signs, and empowering young people to speak up.

Ryan Barone of RentRedi

RentRedi

Ryan Barone ’16 rentredi.com

Renting an apartment in New York City can be grueling. When Ryan Barone found the perfect place, it took him a few days to gather all the documents he needed to secure it. By the time he had, the apartment was gone. Frustrated, he began developing a mobile app that would streamline the rental process and provide landlords and tenants with the power to manage the process from the palms of their hands. From mobile-submitted rental payments to listing and screening applications to maintenance requests and communications, RentRedi is changing the game for self-managing landlords and their tenants and making renting, dare we say it, easy.

Shirley Acevedo Buontempo of Latino U College Access with students

Latino U College Access

Shirley Acevedo Buontempo ’84, ’11 latinou.org

Navigating the college admissions process can be daunting, but for low-income, first-generation Latinx students, the barriers may seem insurmountable. Enter Latino U College Access (LUCA), founded by Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, a nonprofit that educates, guides, and supports students and their families by offering information sessions and workshops on everything from financial aid to internships. “I firmly believe that while potential is universal, opportunity is not…and that often whether a child succeeds has more to do with parental income and zip code than academic ability,” she says. Since its founding in 2012, the organization has supported more than 4,500 students and their families in making their college dreams a reality.

Gregory Matarazzo, founder of Burassi

Burassi

Gregory Matarazzo ’16 burassi.com

Burassi is an NYC-based lifestyle brand that represents the art of creating something out of nothing. For Gregory Matarazzo, that something started when he used the $2,000 he made working at a pizzeria to print 175 screen-printed shirts he designed. What began as a dorm room operation in 2012 has grown to sales from all 50 states and 40+ countries in 2018. “Realize that you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start in order to someday become great,” he says.

Corey Galloway owner of New York Streets Arena football team

New York Streets

Corey Galloway ’02

Growing up, Corey Galloway couldn’t afford to go to NFL games and would take buses and trains just to see Jets training camp practices. So when the opportunity to bring arena football back to New York came up through his private equity firm, Legacy Growth Partners, he picked up the ball and brought it in for the TD. As owner of the New York Streets, the National Arena League’s newest franchise, Galloway became the first black sports owner in New York and with that legacy comes responsibility: to give young kids an affordable way to see the game they love.

Rumit Mehta of Immersion Journeys

Immersion Journeys

Rumit Mehta ’03 immersionjourneys.com

Anybody can go online and book a trip to an exotic destination. But if you’re looking for authenticity in your adven­ture and that once-in-a-lifetime experience, Rumit Mehta has created it. Mehta, who was born in Kenya, of Indian descent, and raised in Tanzania, grew up leading safaris for friends and colleagues. After working in the architecture industry for more than a decade, he traded in his floor plans for travel itineraries and founded Immersion Journeys, a leading specialist in travel to Africa and South Asia. A three-time winner of National Geographic Traveler’s 50 Tours of a Lifetime, Immer­sion Journeys has completed more than 8,000 tours. From encountering the majestic wild­life of the Serengeti to exploring the tea estates of Sri Lanka, Immersion Journeys is more than just “a trip,” it’s an experience.

Christa Gray Page of 50roots.com

50ROOTS.com

Christa Gray Page ’13

It was during her career in fashion merchan­dising that Christa Gray Page had become aware of the scarcity of American-made products, but when she found that the “I heart NY” postcards she ordered as save-the-dates for her wedding weren’t printed in New York—or even the United States—she was emboldened to change that. Her online retail store, 50ROOTS, sells innovative American-made and socially and environmentally conscious gifts, and tells their unique stories. “With every Made in the USA product I found, there was such a cool story about each designer, maker, and manufacturer. It really sold the product to me and inspired me, and I wanted to share that with others,” she says.

Tim Morehouse Fencing Club

Tim Morehouse Fencing Club

Tim Morehouse ’03 timmorehousefencing.com

In seventh grade, Tim Morehouse joined his school’s fencing team to get out of gym class. Little did he know that would lead him to the world’s biggest sporting competition as a three-time member of the US Olympic Team and 2008 silver medalist. Now he’s training future Olympic fencers through the Tim Morehouse Fencing Club, which offers classes, lessons, and camps for competitors of all ages and ability levels in saber, épée, and foil at several locations: Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Westchester and Larchmont, NY, and Greenwich, CT.

Lenny Kharitonov, founder of Unlimited Furniture

Unlimited Furniture

Lenny Kharitonov ’02 unlimitedfurnituregroup.com

Why settle for anything less than free white glove delivery service? When Lenny Kharitonov founded luxury furniture brands Unlimited Furniture and EmmaMason, he knew superior customer service would help set his businesses apart. And he was right. The companies, which came from humble beginnings, have each grown in their respective areas. Unlimited Furniture is designing residences for many well-known celebrities and has been featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation, while EmmaMason is one of the top furniture e-commerce companies with a central warehouse in North Carolina and national distribution.

Entrepreneurship at Pace

Entrepreneurship is more than building a business—it’s about imagining new ways to solve problems and create value. It’s about opportunity. And at Pace, we live opportunity.

Pace Small Business Development Center (SBDC): provides free one-on-one advisement, training, and research to help small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs grow or launch their ventures. Since 1986, the Pace SBDC has worked with 16,000+ small businesses, helping them invest more than $170 million in the economy, and create or save 7,000+ jobs.

Entrepreneurship Lab: a collaborative workspace designed to inspire business development that hosts networking events, roundtables, and the Pace Pitch Contest, which for the last 15 years has given students the opportunity to pitch their business ventures to win funding.

Center for Student Enterprise: initiates and coordinates five student-run businesses on the Pleasantville Campus and provides business students with crucial managerial experience.