Pizza franchise coming to Marietta

People who frequently visit Columbus may be aware of the Donatos Pizza franchise, but for those who haven’t heard of it, you’ll soon get your chance.

Marietta resident Scott Hollister has his crews busy getting the shop together so it can be ready for opening in mid-September.

“It’s nice to see the excitement. It gets me more excited,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “On a daily basis, you see more and more here getting done. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We’re starting to hire now, starting to get into the last phase of stuff. It’s exciting.”

He said there is mostly interior work left to do at the 123 Third St. site, such as painting and installing the ovens. All the floors need polished and shelving is scheduled to be installed next week.

“The exterior is mostly done. We still have decals and signage that need to go up,” he said.

Photo by Michele Newbanks The new Donatos Pizza will be located at 123 Third St., Marietta, beside the CVS.

The location is the former home of the Marietta Artisan School of Cosmetology.

Hollister noted the shop was originally scheduled to open in August, but there were some “hiccups” with Dominion Gas and AEP that pushed the opening date back to mid-September.

As the restaurant is downtown, flooding is always something to be aware of, and Hollister has put a lot of thought into it.

“Because it’s obviously in the flood plain, and we can’t raise the existing building, due to restrictions here, we did as much as we could to prevent damage. It’s not if it floods, but when it floods, but we’re ready for it,” Hollister said. “All the walls are spray foam insulated. All the drywall is FEMA-approved. It’s built for floods. The floors are just polished concrete, so when it happens, we can literally hose it out. The kitchen, with the exception of the walk-in cooler, is on wheels. As soon as we know it’s coming, we’ll make the call and get the trucks here and get everything out.”

This isn’t the first franchise Hollister has owned. He comes from a family of entrepreneurs.

“My whole family’s been entrepreneurs pretty much my whole life. My grandpa started Par Mar Oil. My father, then, started the convenience store side of it where you see Par Mar stores today,” he explained. “He sold that five or six years ago. I actually was a Subway franchisee with my brother before this in the area and always kept my eyes open for franchises. It’s one of those things that I know and one of those things that I love.”

He said after a couple of years of research, he found Donatos was a company nearly too good to be true.

“It was started in Ohio and is still in Columbus,” he said. “The roots of their company come down to the Golden Rule. And it’s wholeheartedly a great company from the top person down.”

Donatos Pizza has a great quality product and nothing in the area is comparable, Hollister said.

“There are edge to edge toppings. The pepperoni and sausage comes from family recipes,” he explained.

He said he’s also excited about the Third Street location, as it’s on a main artery of the city. It’s downtown, close to businesses where they can walk in, he said.

Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews said he’s worked with Hollister on the business and hopes it does well.

“I’m always willing to get a new business downtown,” he said. “I think anytime you get a new business, we welcome it. They have a nice name throughout Ohio.”

When it opens, the restaurant will have seating for 32, as well as a drive-thru. The walls will be decorated with local memorabilia, as well as gear from local sports teams.

The menu includes pizza, gluten-free pizza, wings, subs and salads. For dessert, they offer cookies and brownies.

“We’ll have Cheryl’s Cookies from Columbus as well,” Hollister said.

According to the Donatos website, there are currently 200 locations in 10 states.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

At a glance:

• Who: Donatos Pizza.

• What: Grand opening.

• When: Mid-September.

• Where: 123 Third St., Marietta.

• Phone: 740-263-4644.

Source: Scott Hollister.