Pizza & Pampers with Mikey Sorboro

From the July/August 2014 issue of Capital Style

Mikey Sorboro doesn’t have any kids. The founder and owner of Mikey’s Late Night Slice, which has eight locations and two trucks, has never even changed a diaper. But when he and his girlfriend, Rachael Moore, learned that low-income moms sometimes reuse disposable diapers because they can’t afford new ones, that babies go through roughly a dozen diapers a day, and that a day’s worth of diapers is necessary to leave a child at daycare, the two were inspired to act. He and Moore started the Columbus Diaper Bank in March, along with attorney partner Judith Marsh.

“A lot of times we say a mother is just six or 10 diapers away from losing their job or dropping out of school,” Sorboro says. “That really hit home. And people have no idea.” While their nonprofit status is still pending, they were recently able to fill their first half truckload of diapers—30,000 of them—to be distributed through partner Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Plus, with plans to open dive bar Oddfellows in the Short North this summer and to franchise Late Night Slice pizza in 2015, Sorboro has a lot on his plate. 

On diapers
What got me involved are some of the facts about the diaper need. Most people don’t know diapers aren’t covered under state or federal assistance. A lot of these mothers in need—they don’t have the luxury of going to a Target or going to a Sam’s Club. They have to go to the corner markets which are 20, 30 percent higher. So not only are you getting less with the money that you do have, but their disposable income is going towards diapers.

On donations
Through the buying power of our partners, we can do a lot more with a dollar than, say, me or you going to Kroger and buying diapers. We can get diapers as low as 13, 14 cents, whereas they (can be) 40, 50 or 60 depending on where you go.

On Late Night Slice
We’re just about to celebrate our fifth birthday on July 3. In that five years, we’ve gone to eight locations and two food trucks. It’s a lot of fun seeing it grow. No one here came from business or pizza or really anything. We stumble a lot, we trip, we make mistakes, we waste a lot of money, but we’ve done it on our own. And it’s been really fun to see how the community is receptive to it.

On how he’s changed
I wasn’t as gray. I didn’t expect it to happen this rapidly. I’m 33 and I look like a Soprano.

On what he’s learned
The one place I’ve grown is treating people really fairly, and listening to them, whether they are an operations manager or just a new employee. Actually listening because everybody teaches you something. Half the stuff at Late Night Slice has been suggested.

On what first-timers should order
For any pizza shop, try the pepperoni, try the cheese. Our cheese and fresh basil is killer. Our cheese and pepperoni is awesome, too.

On how he spends free time
I’d love to read more than I do. I walk the dog a lot. It’s my second Pomeranian. He’s 8 pounds and his name is Tommy. I have little fluffy dogs. I love him, but I almost have to give the disclaimer that I didn’t go to the pet shop and pick out the fluffiest dog here. My sister and mother [bought him for me].