NewPizza Factory owners looking for a change of pace

Published on Thu, Jan 13, 2005 by ack Kintner

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New Pizza Factory owners looking for a change of pace

By Jack Kintner

After five years, Marv and Debra Adam have sold the Blaine Pizza Factory on Peace Portal Way to Rick and Becky Greenhow. “I’ll still be around,” said Adam, 71, “to help out now and then, and I’ll be there on Mondays for domino night.” That’s not at Dominoes, Adam joked, referring to one of the competing pizza restaurants in town. “There was a Dominoes franchise for a few months some years ago, but I’m talking about playing dominoes at the Pizza Factory.” Adam plays with a group from his church, Northwood Alliance, and would like to get other Blaine congregations involved.

The new owners came to Blaine from Seattle, where Rick was president of Kelly Moore Paint. Becky has a background as a hairdresser. A couple of years ago they decided to take a break from what had become a frenetic lifestyle in Seattle, Rick being responsible for over 1,000 employees at 36 different locations, and moved the 42-foot cruiser they’re living aboard from Elliot Bay Marina to Semiahmoo.

“If someone had told me a year ago that I’d be doing this,” Rick said, “I wouldn’t have believed it, but it’s a business that’s people oriented, and so far it’s been a lot of fun.”

Aside from a new interior paint scheme and some re-located tables and TV sets, the biggest change is that the Blaine Visitors Information Center now occupies a store front room that has taken the northwest 500 square feet of the restaurant.

“It doesn’t feel crowded,” said Becky, “maybe a little more intimate, but I like it better.” She added that the menu will be the same, and that all the staff has been retained.

Both Adam and Greenhow said they liked each other immediately when they first met to begin negotiating the sale, perhaps because both have small-town roots. In Adam’s case he’s the second of a farm family of 12 kids from West Point, Iowa, “where the dirt’s so sweet you can eat it without running vegetables through it first.”

A hitch in the army in the ’50s, where he was deployed to a missile base near Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle, introduced him to the northwest. Marv’s wife Debra brought the pizza experience with her from years running Pizza Huts in Spokane, Wenatchee and Moses Lake. “She taught me how to toss the dough into that spinning platter thing that’s kind of a Pizza Factory trademark,” he said, adding that her experience and reputation is enough for the parent company to allow the Adams to train the Greenhows directly.

“Normally a new franchise operator requires 50 hours of instruction,” Adam said, “and that means going to a training store, and here it would be to the store in Port Townsend. But they let us train them almost all the way, which made it a lot easier for them to do.”

Rick Greenhow grew up in Puyallup, “Where I did the Puyallup every year!” he grinned. He and Becky like Blaine because it reminds them of what Puyallup was like years ago.

They were looking for a business last fall when they had lunch with friends in Ferndale near a closed Pizza Factory. “We called the corporate office to ask about it, and they said that the one in Blaine was also for sale, and that’s closer to home, so we met Marv and Debra and here we are.”

Both couples are optimistic about Blaine’s future. Adam, whose background is in chemical engineering, said that there “must be, what, a dozen or more restaurants that have come and gone in just the five years we’ve been here. It’s a tough, competitive business. What we could really use here now are impulse and specialty shops that will get people downtown and out of their cars, but with things like the boardwalk and the Jazz Festival, that’s coming.”

The Greenhows said their first day, Monday of this week, was long and hectic “but surprisingly busy, with a good lunch crowd and dinner rush.” Becky Greenhow said that they couldn’t put their first dollar they made on Monday on the wall, since “it came from a couple waiting at the door when we opened, and they followed us in so we fed them lunch. They paid,” she laughed, “with a credit card.”
Pizza Factory
738 Peace Portal Drive
Blaine, WA