Dickinson has a new pizza enterprise: Papa John's. The new store opened at 1625 Villard St. on Jan. 9.
"We're excited about being in Dickinson," owner Harold Rose said. "We're just expanding our company and creating more jobs, and giving more opportunity for people to grow."
Rose owns four Papa John's franchise stores, including locations in Williston, Minot and Minot Air Force Base.
The Dickinson store has everything that could be expected from the franchise: pizza, cheese bread and desserts for pickup or delivery.
Opening a store in Dickinson has been an exciting experience, Rose said.
"It's exciting to see people get to have better benefits and see people have a better life," he said. "It's always fun."
There was strong demand in Dickinson for a Papa John's, Rose said.
"People were excited about having us here," he said. "Just being able to help people have that service, it was great. We were welcomed quite openly, so we appreciate that."
The reception exceeded Rose's expectations.
"You just never know sometimes when you're coming into a new town," he said. "You can tell the need was here and people wanted good pizza, and that's what we do. We bring a good pizza to the community."
The store launched in January with 40 employees.
"Once it settles down and we figure out where it lands we'll probably be around 35 or 40, right around there," Rose said.
Buying into the Papa John's franchise is a simple process, Rose explained.
"You've got to have some capital and you've got to have some money to be able to go pay for all the equipment," he said. "You have to go get approved through Papa John's. You've got to have some management experience. They're not going to let just anybody come in and own a Papa John's. They train you, as well."
It is an investment that requires as much as $300,000 to begin with, Rose said.
"It's kind of scary sometimes when you're investing that kind of money because you never know how it's going to go," he said, "but when it gets going it's worth it. You see people have better jobs and better job opportunities."
Rose has always worked for Papa John's, starting as a delivery driver while he was in college and the business was in its first years.
"I really liked the environment, I liked what I did, so I just decided that I would learn business and then try to own my own business, have my own pizza store," he said.
Rose was first given that opportunity about seven years ago with a group in Bismarck.
"I branched out and came over here on my own," he said. "I separated from that group and came over here and started my own company. We started with one store and now we have four."
Starting a new business requires long hours and an attention to detail, Rose said.
"It's crazy," he said. "There's a lot going on. There's a lot of details people probably don't realize. Making sure the tables are level so the pizza flows down the make line and making sure all the equipment stays cold and making sure it's working."
Most challenges, though, are easily overcome.
"We were waiting for an electrical panel to show up and the wrong panel showed up," Rose said. "Managers were training at two different stores for weeks so they could come over here and run it properly."
He added, "Lots of little things that have to go into getting it all ready."
The store opened amid zero degree temperatures. As the weather warmed, however, reaching the new store became less of a challenge for customers.
Rose lauded the efforts of his team.
"Everybody likes to learn and they're learning and growing," he said. "They're excited. It's new, but they're very interested in it. They want to learn and do the right things."
For now, Rose is satisfied with the number of businesses he has and does not anticipate any more new stores opening soon.
"This is one of our big investments for the year," he said. "Every year we've been looking at a new place to go. We don't know where we're going next. We want to see where this one falls and we'll go from there."
In its first two weeks the store has had a positive reception, Rose said.
"They've had to wait a little bit because there was a lot of people trying to order pizza at the same time," he said. "There's only so much you can do every minute. There's only so many pizzas that can go through the oven. So we did a lot of playing catch up on a lot of those days. Overall, a great response from the community."