The Buzz: Blaze Pizza coming to Fox River Mall area – Appleton Post Crescent
Published 7:34 AM EDT Jun 11, 2019
One of the most prominent vacant plots of land in the Fox Cities will finally see some activity.
The corner of Mall Drive and College Avenue in Grand Chute has been a vacant patch of dirt ever since 2016, when a former Anchor Bank was torn down.
The site is at the southern entrance to the Fox River Mall, behind the mall’s electronic message board.
Blaze Pizza signed up to be the first tenant in one of three new multi-tenant buildings proposed for the site.
Building plans will be reviewed June 18 by the town’s plan commission.
Blaze is the only known tenant so far, but there could be others signed up or near the point of signing leases.
Blaze Pizza plans to start flipping pizza dough by October.
Its local franchisee, Dianne Mayer of Manitowoc, is already a successful franchisee with nine Culver’s locations, including three in Brown County and one in Ripon.
“I wanted to diversify,” she said. “I did a lot of research and I fell in love with Blaze. It reminded me of talking to Craig and Lea Culver. They’re passionate about their brand and culture.”
Blaze is a fast food pizza concept that can serve quickly, even at lunchtime, she said.
Customers walk along a counter, the same way they do at Chipotle or Qdoba, and tell workers what sauce, cheese and toppings they’d like on their 10-inch personal pizzas. Pizzas are then baked in three minutes in a hot, flame-fired oven.
Pizzas run about $8.25.
“Blaze is proud of its fresh, clean ingredients. There are no GMOs, no artificial flavors. They have a proprietary pizza dough and proprietary olive oil. It’s a high-end product,” said Mayer.
She declined to say what her investment will be for each of her six coming locations in the franchise territory including Appleton, Green Bay, Madison and the greater Fox Valley.
“It’s a significant investment,” she said. “But it’s a lot cheaper than building a Culver’s.”
The Grand Chute location is the first signed lease.
The high-traffic mall entrance is a challenge to navigate, but Mayer liked the spot because of visibility.
“I’m excited to be near the mall. We’re right there at the corner next to Kwik Trip. We’ll have great visibility, so it will be easy for people to find us in our first location.”
While staffing has been an issue for all businesses, Mayer said she’s had luck hiring employees because “I pay well and I try to take care of them. I offer vacations and health insurance.”
Blaze Pizza, also called Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, has more than 330 restaurants in 41 states and five countries. It has five locations in the Milwaukee/Racine area under a different franchise owner.
The company is based in Pasadena, California, and its backers include LeBron James, Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner.
Contact Maureen Wallenfang at 920-993-7116 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @wallenfang.
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