TUPPERS PLAINS — Friends, family and community members gathered Friday morning to celebrate the the official opening of Fox’s Pizza Tuppers Plains, or Fox’s Pizza TP as it’s known on the group’s Facebook page.
After an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., everyone gathered back inside to congratulate Matt and Kelsey Stewart on the opening of their newest location — and to, of course, order some pizza. The Meigs County Commissioners, who were in attendance, praised the franchise for adding to the community.
“Small businesses and entrepreneurship are the backbone of our economy,” Commissioner Randy Smith said. “Not just on the local scale, but as a nation. Not only are the Stewarts proven business leaders, but they continue to reinvest in our county by offering great pizza and employment opportunities.”
According to their website, Fox’s Pizza Den has been a franchise in the United States for 44 years. They came to Pomeroy in 2001 when Bill Stewart opened the Rutland location. In 2005, Bill opened the Fox’s store in Pomeroy and in 2006 he invited his son, Matt, to help with the Pomeroy location. The store was originally located near Dollar General, and in 2008 Matt bought the Pomeroy store from his dad and opened it in its current location in 2012.
“(My wife Kelsey Stewart and I) rolled up our sleeves and put that store together,” Matt said.
Matt said the new Tuppers Plains location will be different, with a drive-through window and a beer license for carry-out only. He said the store will also have other merchandise. The facility will be able to accommodate 50-55 people with more of a fast food vibe with self-service. In terms of the drive-through window, Kelsey said customers can call ahead and visit the drive-through to pick up orders.
”We hope the drive-through will be convenient for people to utilize. We know they are busy and hungry,” she said. “Hopefully this can ease the stress of the two.”
Kelsey said when she and Matt first joined the pizza business, they planned to open the Tuppers Plains location before the Pomeroy facility.
“We were traveling to Parkersburg and reminiscing about our glory days — I went to Eastern, the local high school and pretty much grew up in Tuppers Plains, as my best friend lived just outside the town — when the idea came about,” Kelsey said. “But as we were very close to opening the Pomeroy store at the time, it just wasn’t in the cards yet. We said we would put it off until we felt confident that it was something we could accomplish together.
“A wedding, a baby, and three years later, and here we are. It is so gratifying to see the process from start to finish, to see something that we dreamed up on a piece of notebook paper late one night. It’s amazing and terrifying at the same time.”
Another plus to the new business is the creation of new jobs, with 12 employees hired to run the Tuppers Plains store.
“This is what this is about — giving people the opportunity that wasn’t there before, the chance to put themselves or their children through college and put food on their tables,” Kelsey said. “This is how we pay our bills, and its also how our employees pay theirs. It’s very important to us that everyone knows that once you are here, you become a part of our family, whether you are here to stay or just passing through. There is no way we could do this without the people with whom we call the ‘heartbeat’ of our business.”
According to Kelsey, the store hopes to have their merchandiser coolers in by Super Bowl time, and said the delay has been because of weather. However, there is still a soda machine currently in the store for drinks as well.
In the end, the Stewarts hope this new addition to Tuppers Plains can continue to bring about positive change in the community.
”This store is also like a second child — or third, if you’r counting our actual daughter in the mix — to us,” Kelsey said. “There isn’t a part of this building that wasn’t hand-picked by us, together as a team. We hope that each person that comes through our doors feels the love and dedication that we put into it, and we hope they truly enjoy the fun, laid-back atmosphere we hope to provide.”
For more information, visit their Facebook page at Fox’s Pizza Den TP, or for orders call 740-667-3697.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.