Portland., Ore., pizza competitors growing amid recession

April 7, 2002

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Pizza Schmizza, an 11-store New York-style pizza chain, plans to grow to 20 before year's end.

According to the Portland Business Journal, store openings will proceed at a pace of one a month, with new sites spreading to nearby cities of Salem and Vancouver, Wash.

"Probably by July we'll be the largest independent operator in the state, and we've accomplished that by putting out good, quality food every day," said Andre Jehan, who co-founded Pizza Schmizza's with his wife, Carla, in 1993.

Jehan founded Pizza Schmizza to counter the lack of authentic New York-style pizza in greater Portland. He came up with the name when his father criticized the idea, saying "Pizza schmizza--get a real job."

Today his father helps run one of the chain's stores.

Pizza Schmizza grossed nearly $3 million in 2001, but according to Doug Wetter, a partner in the company, the chain should almost triple that to $8.6 million this year. But while income will grow, so will debt, as capital is sought for expansion. Those monies will come from loans from a handful of long-term investors.

Wetter said that Pizza Schmizza will add both corporate and franchised stores; the latter will be awarded to experienced managers first, and outsiders later.

Lee Spector, vice president of operations at Pizzicato, a 12-store Portland-based chain, said his company would liked to add stores this year, too.

"We're looking at possible locations," Spector said, referring to other sites within the city.

Currently all of Pizzicato's stores are corporate properties, but franchising is in the works, Specter said.

Topics: Independent Operation

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