“Every day back when I was in year 5 or 6, my dad would take us to the shop to open up before going to school around 6:00 in the morning. School was like a holiday for me, because I had to work as a kid. I loved school! After school my dad would pick us up and take us back to the shop to work until closing. I’ve been doing that for 14 years and it pretty much became my way of life, my second nature. Today, I have three boys and I would want to have something lined up for them which they could take over.”
At present day, Memo Turedi is the owner of Planet Pizza, a successful pizza joint in Sydney, Australia. But when his parents came to Australia in 1989, when he was just 5 years old, circumstances were dire, to say the least. Making ends meet was a daily challenge. When recalling his distant past, he said, “When my parents first came, they did not know a single word of English. They started off like most people who come to this country: by working the lowest paid job that they could possibly get: cleaning or working in a factory.”
Most children have the luck of an enjoyable and easy-going childhood, the most arduous aspect of which were household chores. But Memo was not most children. Memo was bred in the grit of work, exposed to the realities of adult-life very early. He said, “My parents worked at a factory for 8-9 hours a day, and when they came home, I helped them sew blankets and quilts for an airline. We would invest a lot of time doing that and we would scrape a couple of cents per sheet. We would do that throughout the night just to make ends meet.”
Things changed when Memo’s father had enough of how their new life in Australia was unfolding. He quit his job at the warehouse and purchased a run-down takeaway shop for $11,000. But to resuscitate a failing business back to life was a new challenge altogether. It could be said that the family traded one source of tremendous work for another, but at least this was one that motivated them, one that they freely chose rather than were merely compelled to.
So, the work continued. Memo was in Year 5 at the time, and unlike many people his age, he loved school because for him, school was his time off from work. Before school at around 6:00 AM, he would help his parents open the shop, and after school, he would work until closing time. For 14 years, this is how Memo lived. But he regrets nothing. From a business sense, these were his formative years. This is what molded him to become the businessman he is today.
When it was his time to branch out and start something of his own, he had no problems carrying over his unyielding personality and work ethics towards his new venture. When asked about how he managed to finance his small business, he explained, “I had to fund it myself. I worked a lot. When all my mates were partying and having a good time, I was working.” Also, because of his Turkish background, Memo married early at the age of 19. Today he’s been happily married for 12 years and has three boys. In retrospect, however, Memo advised that ‘if you want to both have a family and do business, do business first. Get yourself secure. Put the foundations down and allow it to develop, and then start a family.”
Liked this story? Check out Pizza Planet Glebe at:
Shop 17 2-12 Glebe Point Road
Glebe, New South Wales 2037