November 24, 2015 |

American Pizza Community Salutes Small Business Saturday

By Denise Greer

Washington, D.C. – November 24, 2015 – Pizza store owners around the country will share their support with local small businesses on Saturday, November 28th to celebrate Small Business Saturday™ and encourage everyone to “buy local, eat local.”  With 54 percent of the 73,000 pizzerias in the U.S. independently-owned, there is no industry more reflective of small business than the pizza industry.

american pizza community

“Our industry is proud of its entrepreneurial spirit and the opportunity it offers for anyone to own their own business.  In fact, thousands of pizza shop owners started out as hourly employees,” said Lynn Liddle, Chair of the American Pizza Community (APC), a coalition of pizza store owners, operators and vendors that make up the American pizza industry.

On November 28th, the Saturday following Thanksgiving, small businesses everywhere anticipate increased consumer spending in local communities as many Americans use their time off to get some early holiday shopping done. In 2014, the National Retail Federation reported that 33% of Holiday shoppers shopped specifically on Small Business Saturday.  For pizza store owners, this means stopping at your neighborhood pizzeria for a slice of your favorite pie!

The APC thanks its fellow pizza comrades for their role as business owners in communities everywhere as part of Small Business Saturday™.  Several examples of pizza store owners who started as employees include:

  • John Addis, owner of 11 Pizza Hut stores in Illinois, began his career as a team member of the Kewanee Pizza Hut store in high school.
  • Khush Bhullar, owner of 16 Domino’s Pizza stores in Pennsylvania, came to the U.S. with $16.50 in his pocket and had to borrow a friend’s car for his first day as a Domino’s delivery driver in 1997.  Eight years later, he bought his first store.
  • Betsy Clemenson, owner of Pizza Factory in Moreno Valley, California, started out as an assistant manager to help out the family who owned the local Pizza Factory and 12 years later became the owner of her own franchise.
  • Eric Fairbanks, owner of 9 Hungry Howie’s in Charlotte Metro Area, North Carolina, began his love for the pizza industry business after working at a local store throughout college.  Ten years later, he is on his way to owning his tenth Hungry Howie’s franchise.
  • Bre Hawkins, owner of Pizza Factory in Temecula, California, started out as a part-time counter worker in high school sixteen years ago at a Pizza Factory in Washington before becoming an employee of her current store in California.
  • Amy Kesecker, owner of Figaro’s Pizza in Philomath, Oregon, began working at the pizza store in high school 17 years ago and became an owner of the same store 10 years ago.
  • Brad Price, owner of 15 Godfather’s Pizza restaurants in Iowa and Minnesota, started working at a local Godfather’s Pizza while still in high school as an hourly employee.  After graduating, Brad worked his way up through management before buying into the local franchise.  Thirty-eight years later, he owns 100 percent of the company with 15 Godfather’s Pizza restaurants.
  • Zac Webster, owner of Pizza Schmizza Pub & Grub in Portland, Oregon, began his career working at the original Pizza Schmizza Pub & Grub restaurant at 15 years old, and was managing one by the time he was 17. After several stints managing other fast casual restaurants, he purchased his own Pizza Schmizza Pub & Grub franchise.

Small Business Saturday™ began in 2010 when American Express encouraged consumers to “shop small” on the day after Black Friday. In the last four years, individuals and local organizations have pledged their support and joined the effort as campions.  Last year, an estimated $14.3 billion was spent at small independent businesses on the day.

About The American Pizza Community

The American Pizza Community is a coalition of the nation’s large and small pizza companies, operators, franchisees, vendors, suppliers and other entities that make up the American pizza industry.  The coalition was formed in 2010 to advocate for policies affecting pizza companies and operators including menu and labeling information, fair wages, work opportunity tax credit, background checks, tax policies and small business access to capital.

Current members include Blackjack Pizza, Breadeaux Pizza, California Pizza Kitchen, CiCi’s Pizza, Domino’s Pizza, Figaro’s Italian Pizza, Godfather’s Pizza, Hungry Howie’s, Hunt Brothers Pizza, the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association, Little Caesars, Nick-N-Willy’s, Papa John’s Pizza, Papa Murphy’s Pizza, Papa’s Pizza To-Go, Papa Romano’s Pizza, Pieology, Pizza Factory, Pizza Schmizza, and Sam & Louie’s Pizza. Supplier partners include Coca-Cola, Leprino Foods Company, Middleby Marshall, Paradise Tomato Kitchens, PepsiCo and Tyson Foods.  Affiliate partners include the Consortium for Common Food Names, the National Pork Producers Council and the Tomato Products Wellness Council.

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