By Diane Larson
February 13, 2016
A company called Wagons West Management brings Pizza Ranch to Butte.
Wagons West, who own the franchise rights for the Pizza Ranch in Montana and Wyoming, also have Pizza Ranches in Billings MT, Casper WY, Minot ND, Grand Forks ND, and Lincoln NE. Next stop, according to Tim Mazzaferro of Wagons West, is Helena MT. If all goes well the Butte store will open sometime in April but would not commit to a definite date.
As they were looking to expand in Montana and Wyoming, it looked at Butte and Helena. They chose Butte based on the availability of the land. The land that housed the Skookum’s Motel on Harrison Avenue is what they found, and it seemed to be “a decent piece of property that we liked” said Mazzaferro the Director of Operations for Wagons West.
However, asbestos contamination was present in the building which had to be removed. According to Mazzaferro that was not a cheap endeavor. The clean-up of the land cost over $80,000, and the company looked to Butte-Silver Bow for help. A request for assistance from the Hard Rock Development Fund was quickly added to the May agenda of the Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners regular meeting.
Mazzaferro went before the commissioners and asked for $5,000 from the fund for help in the asbestos contamination removal. Chief Executive Matt Vincent noted that the funding would help “to clean up and beautify the Harrison Avenue corridor by getting rid of that eyesore.” The commissioners concurred. The funds were allotted to Wagons West so demolition and then construction could begin.
Pizza Ranch began in Iowa 35 years ago with the first opening in Hull, Iowa in 1981. In the beginning many of the stores opened in small towns. According to Mazzaferro, there are well over 190 locations throughout the United States.
Fundraising for local organizations is something that Pizza Ranch offers to their communities. The fundraising is called Community Impact Fundraising Events. Last year their Caspar store was a top fundraiser, raising over $70,000 for different organizations in the community.
How these events work is a non-profit organization like a church, school, Relay for Life, or scouts will pick a day for the event. Prior to that day the organization will get the word out to its members and the community to come to the Pizza Ranch on that day. Pizza Ranch will provide a ticket or something that identifies the customer so that the proper proceeds go back to the organization. On that night volunteers from the organization come in to the restaurant to help bus tables and help the guests. All of the tips and donations go back to the organization plus Pizza Ranch gives 20% of the income they bring in for the night.
Mazzaferro told ButteNews.net that the Pizza Ranch is not just a pizza place, it has pizza and much more. He said that the restaurant has a “simple menu,” and that chicken if the most popular item. The will have a buffet all day every day from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm seven days a week.
The Butte store is of course special. There will be things in this store that make it unique. Most of the stores are approximately 6,000 square feet. The Butte store will be approximately 9,000 square feet. The extra room is for more party or meeting rooms and a “fun zone.” The “fun zone” will have twenty of the latest and greatest games and a full prize redemption center. The players will receive points instead of tickets. All points will be placed on a card. The points can be saved until such a time that the desired number of points for the desired item have been accumulated for redeeming.
Pizza Ranch is moving in directly across Harrison Avenue from Silver Bow Pizza. When asked about the location and competition, Mazzaferro said that the two stores are different enough that he isn’t expecting any competition. He said that the market is able to support both stores. Mazzaferro said the fact that Silver Bow is across the street was not a factor in picking the location.
Can a plastic cup be a weapon?
At around 1:00 pm yesterday, February 10, an argument between two inmates broke out. It soon deteriorated into a plastic cup being used as a weapon at the jail. The two inmates were arguing and one of them took a plastic cup to the face of the other man and cut him behind the ear. The cut was deep enough to cause a gash behind the ear that took three stitches to close up the wound. The victim was taken to St. James, stitched up and returned to his cell said the police.
The new K9 officer sniffs out marijuana at Butte High
On February 10 at 10:14 am the police were contacted by the Butte High principle that there was a suspicion of drugs in a classroom. The students were removed from the classroom and the police department’s drug dog was brought in to find the drugs. He found a pack back with a small amount of marijuana inside. The owner was identified and taken to juvenile and booked and released to her parents according to police.