There was a time in America, if you can believe it, when you would order a pizza and it would arrive somewhat cold and soggy. A horrifying prospect! Ingrid Kosar was disenchanted with cold delivery pizza too, and she wanted to do something about it. In 1984, she filed a patent for a “thermally insulated food bag,” which is familiar to pizza eaters the world over.

Photo by Michael Berger

Kosar has a great entrepreneurial origin story. The next three decades of her career don’t make as tidy a narrative. The bags got commoditized; Kosar lost business to lower-priced competitors and her patents eventually expired. But Thermal Bags By Ingrid is still making pizza bags out of its small office in the Chicago suburbs. Ingrid Kosar embodies what it means to survive in business over the long term. She’s come close to losing it all, yet has held on long enough to see sales recover. In fact, after her story ran in The Distance, Kosar told me she hired two new employees for her sewing department—a nice epilogue to a true underdog story.

Read more about Kosar, her business and the history of U.S. pizza delivery at The Distance.