New Pizza Factory location seeks a larger business slice

Andy Nelson (left) and Scott Nelson have moved the Port Orchard Pizza Factory to a more convenient location.  - Charlie Bermant
Andy Nelson (left) and Scott Nelson have moved the Port Orchard Pizza Factory to a more convenient location.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant

Scott Nelson likes the pizza business, primarily due to the customers. He’s made some success with the Pizza Factory franchise he bought a year ago, but it didn’t take long to determine that something was wrong--and it wasn’t entirely his fault.

“It’s real tough over there,” Nelson said of the location the restaurant left this week. “We were pretty much invisible. Someone would call us for a delivery and it would take us five to ten minutes to get out of the parking lot. Or customers would drive by two or three times and still call us to ask where we were.”

Pizza Factory has moved from Bethel and Piperberry to the Orchard Court on Mile Hill adjacent to the South Kitsap Mall. The new location, which opened earlier this spring, has tempted four local businesses to relocate. The fifth--the U.S. Army Recruiting office-- has just signed its lease.

Moving into a more visible location is only part of the advantage, crossing the city limits also relaxes the rules.

“Every time we’d put up a banner the county would come over and make us take it down,” Nelson said. “Right after that, our business would fall 30 percent. Now that we are within the city we can put up more signs, so people can find us.”

The new visibility would be enough to boost its fortunes, but Nelson is taking the opportunity to expand several aspects of the business. The new dining room holds 110 people, 40 percent more than what was left behind. He is adding menu items, and lengthening the salad bar.

“It will be better and it will be better,” Nelson said. “We will increase the variety of our offerings, and we will make custom pizzas if people want it done a certain way. We will also be the only place in town that serves 12 to 15 flavors of Hawaiian shaved ice.”

Pizza Factory is a franchise, so certain menu items are consistent. Nelson said that the chain is distinctive for its use of fresh ingredients and preparations of crust and sauces on site. Even so, each restaurant develops a distinctive dish that reflects the local community. In this case, it’s a robust combo pizza called The Lone Wolf.

The new location also has an added community feature, a party/conference room that will hold up to 50 people. This is large enough to handle every local business meeting, aside from the Chamber of Commerce and the Bar Association. Nelson plans to install a projection screen and wireless internet service, so the restaurant will become an informal business center.

Since pizza is a common denominator for people who work hard and play hard, the other side of the customer spectrum will be addressed with a new, expanded game room.

The move also coincides with a new philosophy for Nelson’s business. He expects to concentrate less on traditional advertising methods and favor community sponsorships. For instance, the store might spend money on uniforms for a kid’s athletic team rather than placing a newspaper ad or erecting a billboard.

The new Pizza Factory is holding its grand opening event this weekend, with special offers, giveaways and games part of the celebration.

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