Local pizza stores running out of gas

Chris Gates

Gas prices are causing local pizzerias to adjust the way they operate in order to make a profit.

The businesses have taken a hard financial hit with the combination of operating costs, shipping and delivery. Thus, prices have taken a significant leap.


Video by Aaron Martin | TV2 News

“Our prices have jumped 20 percent for purchasing,” said Walter Angeli, manager of Guy’s Pizza at 146 S. Water St. “And then you’ve got added shipping costs, added box charges. So yeah, the prices have went up, but we’re trying to at least maintain (our store).”

Owner Jared Chevraux of Fat Billy’s Pizza located on 114 W. Erie St. took over ownership of the store in May. Since then, he has adopted a few techniques to cut down on operating costs. This, he says, helps to pay the bills and equal out the problems gas prices have caused.

“I never thought it would be this extreme,” Chevraux said. “Of course, (with) any small business you have to save money wherever you can. The fact that I’m running one fryer when we’re slow instead of two, or one oven instead of two, is not something I imagined. But it’s working. It’s keeping me above water.”

He also instituted a delivery fee designed to recoup expenses for gas used in delivery, as well as ensure tips for his drivers.

“We have to have a two-dollar delivery fee to help them out,” Chevraux said. “I would like to offer free delivery, but it’s just not realistic at this time. If gas did come down to the low (three-dollar range), I’d probably eliminate the fee.

“Every shop around here you’ll see has delivery fees now to kind of help out with the gas situation,” he added.

With the majority of Kent State students gone during the summer, both Guy’s and Fat Billy’s had a harder time earning a profit. However, with the student body returning, business has risen by 50 percent or more.

Angeli said that the summer proved to be a community effort for helping local businesses. Residents began to realize the struggles of the store, and in turn tipped higher and started buying more from local businesses.

“I almost stopped driving myself because I (was thinking) ‘I’m spending money going to work,'” Angeli said. “Luckily the community kind of came together and rallied around all the local businesses. We all buy locally pretty much now.”

With the winter months approaching, both stores expect operating costs to rise. The ultimate fear is that they will have to raise prices. Guy’s trademark is offering individual slices of pizza for one dollar, and is fearful it may have to abandon one of its main selling points.

“We cater to the bar scene with the dollar slices,” Angeli said. “I don’t know how long we’re going to be able to keep the slices a dollar, which would be tragic. No one wants a piece of pizza for two dollars.”

Contact public affairs reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].