When Will Toppers Pizza Finally Come to Kalamazoo?
Wisconsin based Toppers Pizza has been flirting with franchising a location in Kalamazoo for the better part of a decade. Is it time for Toppers to get serious about bringing a new pizza restaurant to Southwest Michigan?
The first passing glance Toppers gave to the Kalamazoo area comes from a May 2010 article in the Gazette stating Toppers was looking for a franchisee to service the Kalamazoo/Western Michigan University market.
Kalamazoo is a market that has been on our radar for a while
In the middle part of the decade Toppers opened their first Michigan location in Grand Rapids.
Other Michigan locations did not fare so well, as an Ann Arbor Toppers closed in 2013 after just 8 months in business.
Several franchises have established their first locations in Kalamazoo recently, most notably being the Firehouse Subs at the Corner @ Drake.
There's been plenty of rumblings about Toppers getting serious about Kalamazoo again.
The chain was featured in a South Bend Tribune article about wanting a franchise in that area around Notre Dame. Now if there are locations in Grand Rapids and South Bend, that puts Kalamazoo smack dab in the middle and ripe for a chain.
And that's exactly what Toppers themselves said, being quoted about our area in a trade publication:
With its college town vibe, with nearly 25,000 college students, and small town swag, Toppers Pizza recognizes that Kalamazoo shares similar qualities to other markets where the brand has enjoyed success.
“Kalamazoo is a market that has been on our radar for a while,” said Mark Cairns, director of franchise development at Toppers. “It’s less than 300 miles from our world headquarters and with the success we’ve seen in Grand Rapids, we wanted to expand throughout the state. We know what demographics and what type of cities work best for us, and we know we can succeed in Kalamazoo.”
In Kalamazoo, the brand is interested in opening up to three stores in the area with potential for restaurants in surrounding cities like Portage and Battle Creek to provide more accessibility to the brand in the community.
Finally, the company released a video in late spring 2017 to entice potential franchise owners.
So what do you say Kalamazoo entrepreneurs?