Lone Rock’s Tortilleria Zepeda featured on state-wide business pitch show

Nicole Aimone, Editor-in-Chief

Julian Zepeda, left, and his wife Heidi Zepeda show off handmade tortilla’s from their small business out of Lone Rock, Tortilleria Zepeda. The couple and business will be featured on “Project Pitch it” this weekend. Photo via Heidi and Julian Zepeda

Husband and wife team Heidi and Julian Zepeda will appear on the ABC show “Project Pitch It” this weekend, to pitch their hand-made tortilla business out of Lone Rock.

The pair started Tortilleria Zepeda in 2018, and was nominated by the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative to audition for the “Shark Tank” style statewide pitch show, and will be featured in the season five premiere locally on WKOW March 20 at noon.

The show features three entrepreneurs per episode who present their small business to three judges for the chance to win one of three awards.

The awards include a $10,000 cash award, business guidance services from University of Milwaukee’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center along with a $5,000 cash award and a new award this year the American Family Insurance award, which pairs entrepreneurs with a specialist to provide human resources, IT, marketing and finance support.

The show filmed in early January, with Heidi and Julian heading to Milwaukee to film with the other contestants. The contestants filmed the show together, but interacted with the judges via Zoom to observe COVID-19 restrictions.

“It was super exciting and really legitimized our business and what we’re doing,” said Heidi. “First to have been nominated to audition was just really rewarding and then to be chosen, it was like ‘wow we must have a good story and a good business.’ It was exhilarating.”

Judges for the show include Joanne Sabir, the co-founder of Sherman Phoenix, a business that offers space for local small businesses, David Gruber, the founder and CEO of Gruber Law Offices, a personal injury law firm and Peg Ann, owner and CEO of Empire Level Manufacturing, a construction company and Life Moves, a storage and moving company.

“We were told that over 300 Wisconsin entrepreneurs applied to be on the television show for this season, and we were one of the businesses selected!” said Heidi.