Doug and Lisa Sanders believe the tastiest pizza comes fresh from a home oven.
The Transcona duo embraced that philosophy five years ago on a trip to Grand Forks, N.D. after visiting a Papa Murphy’s location.
"The first time we tried it, we were in Grand Forks and we brought it back over the border and cooked it up when we got home," said Doug. "It was unbelievable. It was the best pizza we’d ever had.
"As soon as we tasted it, we fell in love with the product. You could not believe it came out of your oven."
Aside from being fresh-cooked at the table, Doug noted another advantage to the take-and-bake approach is purchases are not taxed the same way a restaurant meal is, since the customers handle the cooking themselves.
The couple, who had entrepreneurial experience with Budget Blinds, looked to bring a franchise to Winnipeg at the time, but were told the company wasn’t looking to move into the Manitoba market.
However, the Sanders’ were told the company would be in contact when that stance changed. It did, and now they have the first Winnipeg location at 31B-1530 Regent Ave. W., just across from Kildonan Place.
Doug said he and his wife went through five weeks of training after signing on, spending time in Minnesota to get ready to open. The new location unlocked its doors in late October.
"We learned how to make pizzas, how to interact with the customers, all the things you need to do to run your Papa Murphy’s store," he said.
The Vancouver, Wash.-based chain has 18 Canadian locations with plans for further expansion and is the fifth-largest pizza chain in the United States with over 1,200 stores.
Doug knew right away that opening the chain would be a success, noting the reaction he and Lisa received when they were representing the company stateside. He’s seen a consistent flow of customers, adding he can greet most by name because they’re in so often.
"It was a better fit (than Budget Blinds) because people really love the product," he said. "When we were training in the U.S. and we had our Papa Murphy’s training shirts on, people would see us in a restaurant and go ‘Oh my God, you work for Papa Murphy’s? I love that’. I never saw that before.
"I was so surprised to see that."
The Sanders family lives in Transcona, and hopes their business will be welcomed into the community. Doug explained he and Lisa and looking to get involved with events happening in east Winnipeg, and welcome those looking for sponsorship to drop into the location or contact them at (204) 414-7272.