Two young men with a passion for pizza are bringing something different to The Shoppes at Webb Gin. Andrew Williams and Ross Bradley are co-owners of Your Pie, a quick-serve, brick-oven, customized personal pizza restaurant opening this Saturday. Located on the Sprouts Market side of The Shoppes, the fast-casual chain brings a dedication to fresh ingredients, customer service and community engagement.
In fact, Williams and Bradley are so committed to the community, they spent the past week putting their money where their mouth is. The pair teamed up with Jim and Melinda Hollandsworth of The Path Project for a very unique fundraiser. Each night this week from 6-9PM, various community groups were invited to come and dine as a training exercise for the restaurant’s staff. Patrons were not charged for food, but were encouraged to make a donation to The Path Project instead. Known locally for their commitment to helping kids in various mobile home communities, Monday night’s training was even dedicated to The Path Project’s staff and volunteers, as well the students and their families.
The result of such community harmony? Your Pie’s staff went into their first training session with a line out the door and down the sidewalk.
“We were hoping for 100 people, but Jim just kind of laughed and said, ‘That won’t be a problem,’” Williams said. “And our team handled it well – from order to pizza in the oven took less than 8 minutes on average, and we have experienced stores that average seven minutes in a rush like that.”
The live training/fundraising idea is an example of Your Pie’s corporate philosophy of truly becoming part of the community.
“When Your Pie first started, they didn’t train with live guests, and we found that we were wasting food,” Bradley said “That got us thinking, and we came up with the idea to invite these different groups to come in, eat for free, and we’d encourage them to make a donation to a worthy cause.”
Your Pie is a franchise with over 20 locations across the Southeast, according to founder Drew French. Speaking by phone, French said the idea for the restaurant came from his honeymoon in Italy.
“My wife is Italian, so while we were over there, I noticed so many of the families would gather around in the evenings and eat together, and almost every house had a brick oven in the backyard. I thought, ‘There’s something to this. We need something like this back home.’”
French brought the idea stateside to Athens, Georgia, where his wife was enrolled in school. A graduate of UGA’s Terry College of Business himself, French thought the famous college town would be the perfect place to try out his idea. He found space in the Beechhaven Shopping Center and opened the first Your Pie.
Business exploded, and before long he was approached by patrons who wanted to bring the distinctive pizza to their hometown.
“Our first store was in Charleston, South Carolina,” French said. “Simply because a man from Charleston ate at the Athens store and said, ‘What do I have to do to bring this to Charleston?’ We sat down, figured things out, and before long we had 20 stores across the Southeast.”
The newest of those stores opens Saturday in Snellville. Williams and Bradley plan on celebrating in style – 104.7 the Fish will broadcast from the restaurant between 11AM and 1PM, and the owners plan to present a check for the total of the week’s donations to The Path Project.
“I got to know Jim and Melinda through my sister,” Williams said. “We were looking for a local organization we could support on multiple levels, and The Path Project was the perfect fit.”
“When I met with Andrew and Ross, and heard their vision for Your Pie, I knew they were someone we could work with,” he said. “With their emphasis on character and mentoring their employees, it just went hand in hand with what we’re doing at our Path Project locations.”
The alliance will continue well into the future. Williams and Bradley are exploring ways to get their employees involved at some of The Path Project’s locations and are open to interviewing older teens the organization believes are ready for employment. The two owners and Hollandsworth chat regularly to exchange ideas.
“This really is a true partnership,” Hollandsworth said.
“We are so glad to be working with them,” Williams agreed.
Your Pie’s grand opening for the Snellville store is tomorrow, September 27th. The celebration kicks off with the Fish’s live broadcast at 11:00 AM, and continues into the evening. Williams and Bradley promise no one will go home disappointed.
“We have top of the line ingredients from local sources, and we cut, chop and make everything fresh daily,” Williams said. “Our focus is on hand crafted pizzas and making sure every customer gets what they want.”
Customers have their choice of a 10-inch white, wheat, or gluten-free crust, and there is even an 8-inch kids pizza that comes with an order of gelato. The crust can be topped with traditional marinara or one of their seven other sauces (including Thai, Basil Pesto, and BBQ) and the selection of cheeses include mozzarella (low-fat, fresh-made, and regular), cheddar, gorgonzola and feta.
And all of that comes before the veggies and meats.
Did they mention customers can even build a completely vegan pizza as well? Customers can even order online.
The customer getting what they want extends to the wallet as well – the restaurant offers every pizza, panini, and chopped salad for one price: $7.99.
“And that’s whatever you want on your pizza, or salad,” Bradley said. “If you want one of everything, you get it, and the price doesn’t change. We found it was better for the customer that way, and that’s our goal: to make things better for the customer. From the very beginning of Your Pie, the goal has been for customers to feel at home when they come in.”
Your Pie’s founder agrees.
“That’s what we want,” French said. “We want you to come in, get a craft pizza, enjoy a local craft beer, and just enjoy being with us.”
Your Pie is located in The Shoppes of Webb Gin at 1250 Scenic Highway, Suite 400, next to Genesis Hair Salon.