CARROLLWOOD — Their friends and some of their family laughed when Webster and Stephena Pierce decided to get into the restaurant business. After all, they both had successful careers and two growing children. But they also felt unfulfilled.
Six months ago they decided to purchase the Carrollwood Café & Deli and wanted to do more than just make sandwiches and salads.
They wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. After six months, the couple, which has been married for 15 years, feels like they are starting to make a difference.
Every day, they are at their deli around 6:30 a.m., getting the place ready for the rush of local businesses all along Dale Mabry Highway. There are good days and slow days, but the Pierces are as happy as can be. They found there is more to life than collecting a huge paycheck, even though that would be a nice option.
The Pierces are contributing some of their proceeds to the Moffitt Cancer Center to fight breast cancer. Both have been affected by it and proceeds from their cupcakes are donated to the cancer center. They have owned the deli for only two months, but they say they have never been happier.
“We have been blessed and decided it was time to give back to the community,” Stephena said. “We need to raise awareness about breast cancer. Everyone knows someone who has breast cancer. Life is too short to just sit around. We had to follow our passion and go with our heart. That’s why we are doing this.”
Webster added, “We have so much technology and can’t find a cure,” he said. “We wanted a restaurant, but we wanted to do something with it. This is our dream and we had to pursue it.”
The Pierces go at life with a passion. Both laugh easily, and they are devoutly religious. They approach the restaurant business the same way as they approach breast cancer research, and everything else that really matters.
“Life is all about doing your part,” Stephena said. “Everybody thought we were crazy to want to get into this business, but we wanted to make a difference. We meet a lot of people this way and we have a chance to get the word out about breast cancer. If we can make one person understand, everything will be worth all of it.”
The cupcake money is donated to the cancer center, but the Pierces also accept donations. They also sell cookies along with the cupcakes. The awareness about breast cancer is what is most important to the Pierces.
“Breast cancer is not something people think about unless it affects them personally,” Webster said. “People try to hide it under the carpet. Nobody wants to think about it until it affects them directly.”
The Pierces say they aren’t in the deli business for the money.
“We didn’t do it to get rich and most of our family laughed,” Webster said. “Why did we leave good jobs to make sandwiches? We can make a difference this way.”
The Carrollwood Café & Deli is located at 11606 North Dale Mabry Highway next to Outback Steakhouse. Call at (813) 964-9008.