Jukebox Pizza

Pizza boxes come 50 to a pack.

It may seem like an insignificant tidbit at first, but in 1988 the number was very significant to Tyson, Aaron and Jason Powers, whose parents-Garrett and Becky Powers-had recently purchased Jukebox Pizza in Waterford.

“We used to fold boxes for a penny a box and that 50 cents would go directly back into the arcade machine,” recalled Tyson, 36, of Waterford.

The brothers’ involvement with the business has expanded a lot from their days of folding boxes for video game funds.

Fifteen years ago, Tyson and Aaron, 34, opened a second Jukebox Pizza location in Waynesburg, in northeast Ohio.

“Originally it was not part of the plan,” admitted Aaron, who now lives with his wife in Lakeland.

The two brothers had simply been attending auctions to look for suitable restaurant equipment when a former restaurant building in Waynesburg came up for auction and they

brothers jumped at the opportunity, recalled Tyson.

“It was just dumb luck,” he added.

Jason, 40, took over ownership of the Waynesburg Jukebox Pizza a year later and said he feels like the business has come full circle with his two children-Maddie, 8, and Brodie, 5.

“If they need money they work at the pizza shop. They do jobs just like we did when we were kids. They fold boxes. They clean tables. They sweep sidewalks. And just like us, that money goes right into the video games,” he joked.

Tyson has been heavily involved in the Waterford location for the past few years and will take over ownership of the business with wife Lori next year when his parents retire.

His oldest son Matthew, 17, also works at the Waterford location and has expressed an interest in one day running the business, he said.

“The rule has always been they have to finish college before they can own a shop,” said Tyson, whose 7-year-old daughter Parker and 9-year-old son Peyton also help with odd jobs.

When Becky and Garrett Powers purchased Jukebox Pizza in 1988, just a stone’s throw down the street from the business’s current 650 Main St. location, they had no idea the small pizzeria would grow into the full-blown family business it is today, said Becky, 58.

“We had maybe 10 employees at the most and seating for around 12. There was an old bank vault in the middle of the kitchen,” she recalled.

In December 2008, the Powers opened the current location-a nostalgic dine-in experience with a full Italian menu and seating for nearly 100 people.

“We were busy at the other place, but when we moved, I was just amazed that the community has supported us as much as they have,” said Becky.

The restaurant counts customers from Parkersburg, Belpre and McConnelsville among their regulars, she said.

Two of those regulars-sisters Mary Dennis, 66, of Marietta, and Betty Dyar, 64, of Lowell-were enjoying their lunch at the pizza shop Tuesday afternoon.

“I just love it here. It’s like stepping back in time. Those poodle skirts on the wall, we used to wear those,” said Dennis.

The sisters have been patrons since before Jukebox changed locations in 2008, said Dyar. And one thing has remained consistent through the years, she added.

“The food has always been excellent,” she raved.

As a way to thank the community for all the years of support, Jukebox is gearing up to celebrate its 25th anniversary in a big way.

On Sept. 15, Jukebox Pizza is throwing a party complete with a cruise-in featuring old cars and trucks, a wing eating contest, a petting zoo and inflatables.

“We feel very blessed an honored to have grown the way we have. Without our community, we wouldn’t be in business,” said Tyson.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the celebration however will be something familiar to anyone who has ever sat next to the restaurant’s namesake jukebox along the back wall.

Above the table are several pieces of framed memorabilia belonging to The Cobras-a Beverly band that gained notoriety in the 1960s and 1970s by opening for bands such as The Four Tops, The Doors and Van Morrison.

“We wanted this celebration to have a community feel and we contacted them and they said they’d love to do it,” said Tyson.

More information about the restaurant’s big 25th anniversary celebration will be posted on their “Jukebox Pizza of Waterford” Facebook page as the event draws closer, he added.