Grandre-opening this Saturday

Published on Thu, Jun 16, 2005 by Tara Nelson

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Grand re-opening this Saturday

By Tara Nelson

Rick Greenhow, owner of The Pizza Factory, still has the note a Nooksack junior high softball team left on a table one night to say how much they enjoyed the pizza.

“The pizza was awsum,” it read, written in felt marker on a napkin still perfectly unwrinkled and preserved on the wall in the back room. Next to the note was a tip – a pile of change totaling $3.04.
“It’s all about the people,” Greenhow said.

Greenhow and his wife, Becky are celebrating their success in the Blaine community as well as the remodeling of the restaurant with a re-opening party all day Saturday with a car show put on by Whatcom County Corvette’s Unlimited car club from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Greenhow said he also plans to give away special edition Coca-Cola 15-speed mountain bikes as well as various other door prizes.
Besides the fresh coat of brick-red paint in the main dining area, a completely cleaned kitchen and the new party room complete with 60-inch big-screen television, pool table and street car racing video games, Greenhow said customers can expect updated menu items including handmade meatballs and lasagna prepared from scratch in the restaurant.

“None of our ingredients are frozen,” he said.

He also said employees are now adhering to stricter company guidelines for cleanliness and quality. Greenhow said, for example, he has already begun buying more expensive ingredients such as high-end cheese, Canadian bacon and local mushrooms.

And a few months ago, when the corporate branch did their inspections of the couple’s Blaine franchise, Greenhow and his staff earned one of the highest ratings out of the 139 chains.

“We got straight A’s from corporate,” Greenhow said. “No other (Pizza Factory) chain has ever gotten that.”

The couple moved from Seattle to settle in Blaine, leaving behind the bustling Seattle atmosphere. Rick was the president of Kelly Moore Paint’s Northwest division while Becky was a hairstylist.

He said they decided to buy the restaurant after having lunch with a friend near a closed Pizza Factory in Ferndale. He called the corporate office and they told him the Blaine franchise was for sale.

“I guess we were looking for something to do,” Greenhow said.

Even though the number of employees he manages has changed – 1,000 at 36 locations to five today – he says the same principles still apply such as building a good team, leading by example, and making his crew feel important.

“I may be the president (or owner) but that doesn’t mean my role is any less important than their role,” he said. “We’re all equally important to the success of the team.”

One thing Greenhow said is different between owning a restaurant and serving as president of a large company, however, is the way businesses make decisions about what customers want. Greenhow said too many businesses make decisions based on what the competition is doing instead of listening to their customers and the pizza business has provided him with an opportunity to change that.
He said, for example, customers often bring in their own toppings. Once, a customer brought in soy cheese that didn’t melt even in a 550 degree oven.

“We all just kind of stood around and watched it,” Greenhow said. “But that’s what I like about this business. It’s just me and the customers.”