PITTSBURGH—Fox's Pizza Den is celebrating its 35th anniversary. The company was founded by Jim Fox Sr., in 1971 and has grown to become a 265-unit, 100-percent franchised chain.

According to a news release, Fox, the company's president, attributed the chain's longevity and strength to low royalties and low start-up costs. Franchisees and long-time vendors gave him a surprise anniversary party at the 2006 International Pizza Expo, held March 14-16.

"The surprise was very special to me," Fox said. "Vegas is the ultimate city to celebrate any great occasion, and 35 years in the pizza business fills that bill. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful family, great friends and the very best franchisees in the world."

Fox's has enjoyed solid growth over the past two years, including the addition of about 50 units. To keep pace with expansion, the chain implemented a state-of-the-art online corporate-to-franchisee communication system including a semi-monthly e-newsletter and a secure online franchisee forum.

The company also said it will open a new commissary to better service franchisees.

"The new 20,000 square-foot location will house five offices for commissary operations, four offices for franchise sales, a conference room, a test kitchen and ample warehouse space, more than tripling the present space for the corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh," said warehouse manager Jeff Holsing. A grand opening is planned for summer 2006.

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