Luisa Obando founded DellaCasa Pasta in 2011 with a mission to make delicious and authentic pasta. Utilizing the freshest ingredients and machines imported from Italy, the company executes that mission. The journey for Obando and DellaCasa Pasta has not always been smooth, but the company’s commitment to their product and service have it prepared for sustained success.
Pursuing a Business Dream
A lifelong love of pasta and an affinity for fresh foods is what sparked Obando’s creation of DellaCasa Pasta. A background in economics and banking helped Obando understand the challenges and opportunities of owning a company.
After purchasing the necessary machines to make fresh pasta, Obando and her mother began selling their products at markets, including the Tomball Farmers Market. DellaCasa Pasta found success and learned a lot about their products, leading to new opportunities for the company. Obando hired someone to manage the farmers markets then she successfully began pursuing prospects of working with restaurants and other wholesale buyers.
“I saw the potential and decided to go for it,” said Obando.
Award-winning Executive Chef Maurizio Ferrarese, a native of Italy, was aware of DellaCasa’s products and brought the pasta into his Houston restaurant. With that type of credibility earned, Obando and DellaCasa Pasta began selling to restaurants in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. Their pastas are currently sold by more than 90 restaurants, in addition to airlines, caterers, and hotels.
“It’s expensive to make fresh pasta and many chefs don’t want the headache. We make sure they’re happy with our product, service, and consistency,” added Obando.
Challenges Lead to Opportunity
Covid-19 provided a challenge for DellaCasa Pasta, as many of their customers were forced to shut down. Obando quickly pivoted to retail, selling the pasta directly from her factory in Tomball. Using a contactless method, people from across the region traveled to Tomball to pick up fresh pasta meals for their family. Obando says that sales increased by 36% in 2020, opening the door to many new customers along the way. Wholesale has bounced back, yet hungry families still purchase directly from DellaCasa Pasta.
The influx of new customers, along with success in wholesale, created capacity issues for the business. Demand continued to grow, however, there was not enough room in their facility to produce all the pasta being requested. Obando, who does not shy away from a challenge, quickly moved to overcome.
Creating More Capacity
Along with purchasing four new machines from Italy to make more fresh pasta, Obando signed a lease agreement for the adjacent suite in their Hicks Street building. Beginning in August, she plans to utilize the new space to increase capacity from 100 pounds of pasta per hour to 1,000. Obando also has visions of welcoming chefs in for cooking experiences that will allow customers to taste DellaCasa’s delicious pastas.
“We are excited for people to come experience DellaCasa Pasta,” said Obando. “Everyone loves pasta, it’s a great family meal. We make it easy to enjoy fresh and delicious.”
It is important for Obando to stay in Tomball, as the location has suited her and her company very well. She points to the business-friendly environment, welcoming community, and convenience of travel as reasons why Tomball stands out. DellaCasa Pasta is working with the TEDC for assistance on the rental agreement and hopes to eventually purchase the building.
For Obando and DellaCasa Pasta, much of the reward is in the journey. The single-mother of two daughters took on the risk to pursue the dream and overcame several obstacles along the way. She hopes that her success can encourage women facing their own challenges.
“Growing the business from nothing to what it is right now took a lot out of me. It was so difficult, but I found a way. I hope I inspire other women who are going through similar situations,” said Obando.