Pilon School of Business
Year of graduation: 1975
Ces Nucci is a classic example of someone who turned adversity into a business success story. After being downsized in 1985 from his position as a national sales manager in the food industry, Ces turned his energies toward realizing a life-long dream: starting his own company. He then went on to carve out a highly successful niche in the food business with his traditional Italian cookies called Pizzelle.
Based in Mississauga, producing on average 1.5 million Pizzelle daily, NuStef Foods Ltd. is the largest Pizzelle manufacturer in the world. The cookies are shipped to the United States, Taiwan, New Zealand, Mexico, and even Italy, making NuStef one of the few companies in Canada that ships products to their country of heritage.
He started his company with one self-made machine producing five cases of cookies daily that he personally sold each night. Today, Ces’ 54,000 square foot, automated production facility supports seven production lines, enables 15-20% growth each year.
Ces credits ambitious marketing at trade shows and an unwavering belief in the product among the reasons for his success. “I knew this product would evoke memories in Canadians of Italian heritage and would be unique and delicious enough to gain new converts,” he says.
But Ces reserves most of his praise for his 74 employees, two of whom have been with him since the beginning.
It is appropriate that the name NuStef is a combination of his family name and the first name of his daughter, Stefanie, who was born the year Ces opened the company. Both she and Ces’s other daughter, Alexandra, are Sheridan graduates. In fact, since graduating from the Business Administration – Human Resources program in 2009, Alexandra has joined the family business as Sales and Marketing Coordinator. Stefanie is a 2005 Art Fundamentals graduate.
A member of Sheridan’s Faculty of Business Hall of Fame, Ces believes the college’s practical training ground provided him with the fundamental lessons required to operate a thriving business. “One of my professors advised us to look at what businesses are doing inadequately, despite attaining some level of success, and imagine what what you could accomplish with the right changes,” says Ces. “The Sheridan diploma was all I ever needed!”
Ces was nominated for a 2013 Premier’s Award which recognizes outstanding Ontario college graduates.