Papa John’s DeKalb location to reopen

By Nina Gougis

Many former customers of Papa John’s Pizza, 725 N. First St., are looking forward to the store’s reopening after its May closing, one employee said.

The store’s former franchise owner Antoin “Tony” Rezko converted his 30 Papa John’s franchises in the Chicagoland area, including the DeKalb location, and renamed them Papa Tony’s, according to the Daily Herald.

The stores later closed in July after many employees complained they were not paid by the designated payday.

Since then, Papa John’s bought out the location, and although no dates have been set, the store is now hiring and plans to open sometime in the near future, said Papa John’s employee Mark Imburgia.

Many surrounding pizza stores have seen an increase in sales since the store’s closing. These sales, however, are expected to decrease when the store reopens.

Robert Schlecht, store manager of Pizza Pros at 928 W. Lincoln Highway, said Papa John’s has been a tough competitor and its closing resulted in a great increase in the number of customers.

“Having them closed for a while has been good for us and we enjoyed it for the time it lasted,” Schlecht said. “We just hope that some of the new customers will decide to stay after the store reopens.”

John Sinn, manager of Pizza Villa on 824 W. Lincoln Highway, said there has been only a slight increase in sales since the closing. He said he expects there to be a slight decrease in late night business after the store reopens, especially if there are any opening sales.

“I’m sure we’ll notice some difference in the late night business,” Sinn said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Imburgia said the store still receives several calls a week from former customers, despite the store’s closing, all of whom “greatly anticipate the store’s reopening.”

“Papa Johns has been missed,” Imburgia said. “As a Papa Johns, we look forward to being an integral part of the community.”