Gabe Palmer was working at Journeys in the East Hills Mall when the mall’s marketing manager happened to mention to him that Lino’s Original Pizza was for sale.The restaurant, which had been in the mall since 1994, had closed in July 2018. 

“I said to him, ‘why didn’t you tell me? I want to own a business.’” said Palmer.

That conversation started a chain of events that led to Lino’s re-opening in the mall three months later in January 2020, with Palmer as the new owner. 

Palmer said his parents, who own and operate Geneo’s Pizza and Pub downtown, gave him his entrepreneurial spirit, and Annette Weeks and the Center for Entrepreneurship gave him the help and confidence he needed to become an entrepreneur at age 19. 

“Annette was my coach and mentor. She gave me confidence, and she helped me solve every problem that came up,” he said. Palmer said the Center also helped him write a business plan and set up a monthly budget. 

His parents bought Geneo’s in 2012, when Palmer was 12 years old, and he spent a lot of hours helping out in the business. “The things I learned there, I definitely use here,” he said. “I always tell my parents thank you.”   

“My family helped set me up to be an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have this place without Annette and the Center for Entrepreneurship.”