Nationwide — Meet Lorenzo and Genesis Bencivenga, the father-daughter founders of Lorenzo’s Frozen Pudding, who started their business as a way to create not only income but upward financial mobility. Selling their pudding on the streets of South Side Chicago, the Bencivengas have grown their business through ambition and determination, rocketing their products on the shelves of local grocery stores and now, Walgreens.
The latest episode of Shelf Life tells their story and reveals how their success came with a price. Due to their inability to keep up with the demand, the family had to restart the business three times.
“We weren’t selling on the street anymore because we were in about 50-55 stores in Chicago and surrounding suburbs between 2015 to 2017,” said Genesis. “But we couldn’t keep up with demand again. I knew we had a great product people wanted to buy, but we didn’t have the back-end infrastructure for manufacturing and distribution that we needed, so I had to shut it down again.”
Genesis relaunched Lorenzo’s business for the third time in 2020 during the COVID pandemic. With Walgreens’ Top Shelf program, Genesis received the support she needed to improve the first two launches with Lorenzo’s Frozen Pudding. The program provided access to capital vital for growth, connected her to a co-packer for manufacturing, and ultimately gave her distribution at Walgreens. The three-store pilot has since grown to more than 30 stores one year later.
Lack of resources stymies Black entrepreneurs, but Walgreens is aiming to help reverse that trend by creating equitable opportunities for diverse businesses. As a result, Walgreens launched Shelf Life, a new web series showcasing its diverse suppliers and how they made it onto the retailer’s shelves.
Through its Shelf Life series, Walgreens is shining light on underrepresented entrepreneurs on the path to growth. Additionally, Walgreens is changing the way we do business while changing the lives of business owners like Lorenzo and Genesis
Today, the duo’s vision emphasizes the importance of growing not only their business but generational wealth as well. Shelf Life is sharing stories of change and transformation, and these stories are not only instructive but incredibly inspirational too.