Josh Elchert and his wife, Keisha, are parents to Kaileigh (12), Aiden (9), Emma (7), Aleah (4) and Noah (2). The children are homeschooled, allowing Josh, who works 2nd shift, to spend time with them in the morning.
“Having a large family has its joys and challenges,” says Josh. “There’s bickering and sharing, crazy times and happy moments. What I enjoy the most is seeing their individual personalities come out. They are being raised the same, yet they each have unique talents and abilities.” He shared that the hardest part is to avoid being a helicopter parent—protecting them but giving them freedom so that they can learn from their mistakes.
When Josh isn’t at home with his wife and children, he’s running his business and making pizzas. He opened the local pizza shop in 2010—fulfilling his lifelong dream as an entrepreneur.
Standing out and helping out
Heavenly Pizza stands out from the competition with a sweet-flavored pizza sauce and made from scratch daily pizza dough and sub bread. “The quality of our product and our price point are excellent,” said Josh.
As a pizza shop owner, Josh enjoys getting to know his customers and working in the kitchen. “I just really love making pizzas!” he says.
As his children get older, Josh plans to involve them in the day-to-day operations of Heavenly Pizza. His eldest daughter, Kaileigh, is already working alongside him for a couple of hours two nights a week. “It’s a way to spend more time with her and teach her the value of hard work,” said Josh.
Heavenly Pizza isn’t just known for its delicious pizza, but for its community outreach as well. Josh just wrapped up a 12-month campaign supporting local nonprofits. Each month, he helped a different nonprofit through Facebook promotions and by donating 10 percent of his profits on certain Friday nights. Recently, he launched Pay it Forward, a program that helps local kids who are dealing with food insecurity. For a $1 donation, a customer can provide a slice of pizza and a bottle of water for a student in need. Students from nearby Glenwood Middle School and Jacobs Elementary can get their free meal from 3-7pm every day of the week. Josh says he serves 30 to 40 slices every day.
For Josh, giving back is simply a way to live out his faith. “It’s what we are supposed to do as believers—to give generously as often as we can,” he said. It’s a lesson he plans to pass on to his five children.
Q&A with Josh Elchert
What does your family like to do together?
We enjoy playing board games and even host game nights with Heavenly Pizza employees. Sorry, Risk and Battleship are favorites.
What foods do you enjoy? We probably eat more pizza than the average family! But we also enjoy pasta and chili.
How do you balance work and family? It’s a constant battle and I don’t have an easy solution. Just when I think I have it figured out, something comes up that changes the equation.