- Current Employer(s): Wally’s Deli
- Bio: Wally opened “Wally’s Deli” in January 2016. The location in a non-descript strip mall on Alico Road in Fort Myers seemed to be a long shot, but it has become a local favorite in a short period of time. Originally from Connecticut, Wally is an FGCU graduate, with a degree in Business Management.
Wally had an idea to open a college/community based sandwich shop for local residents and students to call their own.Wally’s Deli is not your average sandwich shop, he offers unique breakfast and lunch sandwich creations with pop culture references that make you smile as you read the menu. The Fresh Prince, Cheech & Chong, Yolo, Fat Guy Little Coat… just to name a few. His “Healthy & Comfort” concept is appealing to many. The top selling sandwich is the #Hangover (2 eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrown & cheese on a kaiser roll). You can keep it simple with classics like a Reuben or Cheesesteak, get wild and try a comfort sub filled with mac & cheese or keep things light with a raw plant based Buddha Bowl.When a 27 year old with a young daughter decided to take a gamble by completely renovating an old unit in a lesser known property, to sell sandwiches in a town full of franchises, there may have been some skeptics.But, behind the scenes Wally truly believed in his dream. He had a well thought out business plan, backed by years of research. Many thought his quick success was luck, but it was all part of his strategic plan.
His business grew rapidly, lines out the door and long waits for sandwiches became the norm. At times it got so busy, they had to disconnect the phone in order to accommodate the crowds (this problem has since been fixed). He had to constantly re-configure the operation to keep up with the demand. Hundreds of people walk through the deli doors every day, from 8am-4pm in about 1,000 square feet of space. With only 10 chairs available, the focus is on takeout. The business continues to flourish, as Wally works hard to keep things rolling.
Although most people know Wally for his food, he is also very involved with FGCU and the local community. He continuously gives back to local organizations through fundraisers, charitable contributions and sponsorship opportunities.
Wally is a proud FGCU Alumni and now a full time Fort Myers resident, working to build a business and live the American Dream.
- Community Involvement: Annual Donor FGCU Athletics
Annual Donor FGCU Alumni Association
Sponsor/Donor: FGCU Dancing E’Gals, FGCU Fishing Club, San Carlos Youth Roller Hockey, FGCU Rock the Vote, Various FGCU Fraternal Organizatons, Top Gun Allstar Cheerleading, American Heart Association, Hurricane Harvey Relief, FGCU Dance Marathon (All Children’s Hospital), Valerie’s HousePS-1 Academy (Fort Myers) weekly lunch donation, personally delivered by Wally.
- Favorite things to do outside of work: I love spending time with my daughter Khloe, traveling and hanging out with family. Besides work and family time, I go to FGCU basketball games, occasionally attempt to golf and pride myself as player/coach/owner of the Wally’s Deli (2 time champion) men’s softball team. I am also a foodie… so anything involving food count me in.
- Favorite quote: “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” Walt Disney
- What does SWFL mean to you: SWFL is an up and coming area. It’s not just a tourist destination, it’s a great place to pursue an education, work and raise a family. The rapid growth is creating opportunity for many people. I’m just happy to be here as a member of this outstanding community.
- Best advice you’ve received: “You should open on Sunday’s”
- What drives you: Passion, Entrepreneurial Spirit and My Customers. I love what I do. I enjoy the daily grind and I appreciate the hustle is takes to succeed. It’s satisfying to see my plans unfold and it’s exciting to overcome new obstacles. I love this business and I’m grateful for the opportunities that have allowed me to pursue my dream.It is an incredible feeling to create something that other people enjoy. I will continue to grow, learn and perfect my craft in order to make my customers happy. I just want people to have an awesome experience and enjoy some delicious food, so when I see that come to fruition it keeps me going.
- Last book read: Dragons Love Tacos (Khloe’s Bedtime Story)