• Store closure puts Domino's Pizza out of Wichita temporarily

WICHITA, Kan. -- The abrupt closure of a Domino's Pizza store in Wichita on April 6 signaled what a company official expects will be the chain's temporary exit from the city where Pizza Hut was founded.

The store closure also surprised employees.

According to the Wichita Eagle, when the Domino's staff came to work on April 7, they found an empty store and a letter from franchisee Chris Knaack and business partner Jason Achuff. The business, the pair wrote, was losing money rapidly in the worsening economy, and that high labor and food costs aggravated the problem. The partners, it added, would be buried in debt for years to come.

Knaack couldn't be reached for comment, but Tim McIntyre, vice president for communications at Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Domino's said the closing also surprised the company. As recently as two years ago, there were three Domino's stores in the city.

McIntyre said Domino's wants to reclaim a position in the Wichita market and will search for a local franchisee to resume business there.

Though the partners' letter called the store's employees "friends," the franchisees' plight got little sympathy from the staff.

"The mood's pretty grim," driver David Rogers III said.

"Grim's a good word," driver Alex McAllister added.

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