Godfather's Pizza Coming to SP Shopping Center
Godfather’s Pizza is coming to The Park at Poplar on U.S. 1 in Southern Pines, the first commercial tenant signed by Trident Marketing since Trident moved into the former Winn-Dixie shopping center last fall.
“I had wanted to come to Moore County first, but I’m glad we didn’t,” said Mike Hill, who opened a Godfather’s franchise in Rockingham last year. “We got all of the bugs worked out, so this opening should be a lot smoother.”
Hill, who grew up in Moore County and graduated from Pinecrest High School in 1986, recently signed a five-year lease and plans to spend six figures upfitting about 3,300 square feet of space formerly occupied by O’Mahoney’s Pub & Grill. He hopes to have a birthday party room and outdoor seating.
“I like the looks of the building and all of the parking spaces,” he said. “We hope to open in October, but first I’ve got to hire 35 employees and train them.”
Godfather’s Pizza was founded in 1973 in Omaha, Neb., and today has more than 600 locations in 40 states, ranging from traditional pizza restaurants to express locations in convenience stores, airports, truck plazas and schools.
The privately held company offers four types of crust — original, golden, mozza-loaded and thin — and five different sizes, as well as calzones, breadsticks, salads and chicken wings.
Hill, who plans to offer dine-in and carry-out, said corporate officials were “a little bit scared” about visibility because the restaurant does not front U.S. 1.
“But with our initial marketing budget we’ll get customers back here. It just may take a little time,” he said.
Hill said his decision to enter the competitive Moore County market was pushed up after he purchased equipment from the now-defunct Godfather’s Pizza in Asheboro.
“I wasn’t looking to come now, but the opportunity and the timing was perfect,” he said. “The equipment is practically brand new because they were only open for five months.”
Hill started looking for space earlier this year and turned to George Manley, a commercial broker with Kuester Real Estate Services in Pinehurst.
“The deal was done when I was with HSP Realty, because Mike signed the lease in late June,” Manley said. “It was great working with Mike through the process, and I’m sure his location here will be as successful as the one in Rockingham.”
Hill plans to add a third franchise in Hope Mills or Sanford in the future.
“But that’s probably about two years down the road,” he said. “I don’t want to spread myself too thin. It depends on how quickly this one takes off.”
Godfather’s Pizza is perhaps best known because former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain was its president and CEO from 1986 to 1995.
The company’s website says it “takes no position on political candidates, but we do make great pizza.”
The Park at Poplar shopping center is owned by Trident Marketing, which acquired the property six years ago and spent seven figures renovating it through a difficult economy.
Trident, which Steve Baldelli co-founded in 1986, started with the acquisition of Sycamore Lodge Resort, an upscale RV park and campground nestled on 194 acres near Jackson Springs. Sycamore Lodge and three other RV resorts in Ohio and Pennsylvania are operated by the company’s Travel Resorts of America subsidiary.
Trident’s other subsidiaries include Direct Sat TV, which acquires customers for Direct TV; Direct Sat Broadband, which acquires Internet customers for HughesNet and CLEAR; Advanced Direct Security, which acquires customers for ADT; and Service Valet, which acquires customers for N.E.W. Customer Service Companies.
Baldelli and his wife, Susan, president of Trident Designs, were out of the country this week and unavailable for comment.
Susan Baldelli has said the company’s goal is to consolidate its operations to the former Winn-Dixie space and rent the rest of the commercial space in the shopping center.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story