Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on January 21st 2020
Hakki Akdeniz: Now a New York pizza mini-mogul, he was once homeless.

Hakki Akdeniz
Hakki Akdeniz
Photo: globalshakers.com

Today this 39-year-old Kurdish immigrant owns seven New York City pizzerias.

And he helps the homeless, because 19-years ago when he came to the U.S., he became homeless.

Here is Hakki's remarkable story:

(Story continues from "Read More")

One-night last October, four homeless men were murdered, and on the sight where each of them died, were fresh, hot pizzas and a note:

"I wish with all my heart," it stated, "that I could have been there at that very moment to protect all of you guys."

Adding, "you know me as the pizza guy. [But] As a former homeless man, I know the struggle that all of you guys went through every day."

Hakki Akdeniz
Photo: nytimes.com

When Hakki came to New York in 2001, he lived in a rundown motel. When his money ran out, he lived in Grand Central Terminal and then in the skid row Bowery Mission.

Hakki left the mission when he got a dishwashing job, and slept in his employer's basement, until he got a job in an apartment building, sleeping in the boiler room.

Then he got a dishwashing job at a Hell's Kitchen restaurant and eventually became a chef there, all the while saving his money.

In 2009, he bought a tiny pizzeria, and to save money, slept under the oven. He bought a second pizzeria and named both of them Champion Pizza.

And as his businesses grew, he wisely invested his profits in buying additional pizzerias.

From his business success, Hakki gives the homeless free pizza and operates a weekly food and clothing giveaway.

He also pays a barbershop to cut homeless people's hair and pays a gym to let the homeless use the toilets and showers.

For in his heart, Hakki will always be one of them.

Editor's Note: To learn more, click here and here.

In the next KazanToday: An 18-year-old who donated hundreds of new prosthetic leg Barbie dolls to girls with prosthetic legs just like hers.


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