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These Maryland Entrepreneurs Have Created A Black-Owned Vegan Pizza Chain In the State

These Maryland Entrepreneurs Have Created A Black-Owned Vegan Pizza Chain In the State

They’re also giving back to the community in a big way!

Shawndell Pullam and Ryan Whitfield have been best friends since 1991, Black Enterprise reports. The two grew up playing basketball together, both taking an early interest in becoming entrepreneurs. After graduating high school, they launched their first business creating graphic tees. In 2016, they pivoted to franchise opportunities, opening their first Smoothie King location in the DC Metropolitan area. Now the duo are veteran entrepreneurs, owning six Smoothie King franchises across the region, and recently launching a Black-owned vegan pizza chain called BurnBox Pizza


The Maryland-based pizzeria offers brick oven pizzas with more than 20 of the highest quality ingredients. The casual restaurant chain has both vegan and vegetarian options and sells fresh salads and baked buffalo wings. Both Pullam and Whifield are using the eatery to create healthier options for the community while also using proceeds from sales to fight food insecurity in Maryland. 

“In our hometown of [Prince George’s] County, Maryland alone there are over half a million people struggling with hunger…We’re more than just your neighborhood pizza shop. We’re a pizza eatery with a mission: Fight hunger in the community through customer donations. The more people we feed, the happier we are. Not just as a company, but as a society,” said Pullam. 

For each pizza sold, BurnBox Pizza donates a free pizza to the community. They currently have two locations in Waldorf and Kettering, Maryland and are looking to expand soon while offering franchise options. In addition to their charitable donations, Pullam and Whitfield are also committed to helping other Black entrepreneurs. They launched BurnBox in 2019, and became authors the same year, releasing their bestselling book, “Now Open: How We Built A Multi-Million Dollar Franchise Business In 12 Months.” The book teaches budding entrepreneurs tools and tips for navigating the industry and becoming successful. 

BurnBox Pizza is currently open daily and offers gift cards, catering, and fundraising opportunities. Try them out today by visiting one of the locations or placing your order online.

Cover photo: These Maryland entrepreneurs have created a Black-owned vegan pizza chain in the state/Photo Courtesy of BurnBox Pizza