The entrepreneurialism of the pizza industry is reflected through store ownership opportunities where 54 percent of the nearly 73,000 pizza stores nationwide are independently-owned and operated. The pizza industry contributes nearly 1 million jobs to the nation’s economy bringing employment to communities across the country through hourly employees, delivery drivers, supply vendors, and local store owners and operators.
Many pizza store owners started as part-time and hourly workers before embarking on their path to ownership. Here are stories of pizza-teurs around the country:
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 ten years ago.
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.
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.
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.
Christian Reisch, owner of 7 Domino's Pizza stores in the Lexington, Kentucky area, began his career in 1992 as a part-time delivery driver while serving in the Army. After transitioning back to civilian life in 1993 and continuing to deliver while going back to school, Christian realized his true dream was to own his own business. In the fall of 1997, Christian took on a management role and quickly climbed through the ranks becoming the supervisor for all downtown Washington, D.C. stores in 2001. By 2004 he achieved his dream of becoming an owner with two stores and now proudly owns seven stores.
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.
John and Vanessa Addis, owners of 11 Pizza Hut stores in Illinois. John began his career as a team member of the Kewanee Pizza Hut store in high school and worked in management positions for the corporate and franchise throughout college and after graduation. In 2008, he and his wife Vanessa acquired the franchise from the previous owner.
Kevin Hershock, owner of 11 Hungry Howie’s restaurants in Michigan and Indiana, started in 1982 at the age of 16 with Little Caesars washing dishes and making pizzas. In 1994, the opportunity to become an owner in Coldwater, Michigan with Hungry Howie’s was available. Today with 11 stores in west Michigan and northern Indiana he has plans for two more.
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.
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.