Cheney Free Press -

By PAUL DELANEY
Staff Reporter 

Leap of faith pays off for ML Pizza Factory owners

 

August 17, 2017

Paul Delaney

The recent transition in the look of the Medical Lake Pizza Factory took place with the help of artist Misty Williams (left) who painted the many murals found on the building. Owners Kristin and Jason Rodney make up the rest of the back row. The Rodney's children, Ethan and Andrew are in front.

The old adage about when one door closes another opens may have never been a more appropriate connection for Medical Lake Pizza Factory owners Jason and Kristin Rodney.

The couple, who recently celebrated their two-year anniversary as owners of the business on Aug. 16, saw one business opportunity fade away, but arguably a better one present itself almost immediately.

"We were buying a hardware store in Oregon, we made a down payment on it, we sold our rental house and unfortunately the deal fell through," Kristin Rodney said.

As she was walking out one day to go to church, Kristin's husband Jason said, 'The Pizza Factory in Medical Lake's for sale."

"Oh cool, I went to church, came back, we drove by, took a look and said "We can do this," Kristin Rodney said.

The couple lived in Nine Mile Falls and Kristin Rodney said she'd never before been to Medical Lake prior to the reconnaissance mission.

"We took a huge leap of faith," Kristin Rodney said. But the venture into unknown territory has been a good one.

"It's been fantastic, we love the community, we love our crew, everybody is just great around here," she said.

Prior to getting into the pizza business, Jason Rodney worked in his family's hardware business for 20-plus years and then as an RV service adviser. Kristin Rodney worked at JoAnn Fabrics.

Originally, the couple commuted from Nine Mile, for about a month and a half that is. They rent out their former home and rent a place in Medical Lake.

"Working 12–16 hour days, driving back and forth and trying to manage a young family was just too much," Kristin Rodney said. The couple has two children, Andrew, 8 and Ethan, 4.

Joe and Sandy O'Hagan owned the business for 20 years previously and Aaron Davis from July 2014.

"We signed the paperwork on his (Davis's) one-year anniversary," Kristin Rodney said. "It didn't work out the way he thought - his wife got a different job - it's too much work for one person," she added.

Jason Rodney called the pizza business "Our rebound."

"We drove out here and said, 'Wow, this is not too far and we don't have to sell our house to buy this one," adding, "I never even thought of pizza."

Inside the walls are once again adorned with Cardinal sports team photos. "Those were taken down when we came here and were in a box," Jason Rodney said.

But it's the outside that has seen the biggest changes.

The view from the Rodney's business neighbor at Umpqua Bank had not changed in years from the beige and green color scheme. "It was fun to give it a facelift," Kristin Rodney said.

"We have a local artist who did all of the murals," Kristin Rodney said of Misty Williams. "She is an amazing, amazing, amazing talent." The transformation took about two weeks, starting the Monday after Mother's Day.

Over the years the Pizza Factory has been a strong supporter of many community causes. But they have fine-tuned some of that focus to ML's robotics team.

"They are an amazing crew, they have helped us out at Founder's Day, they bussed tables," and other duties, Kristin Rodney said. And for that, "They got a nice donation."

The family got their first taste of the franchise's wares when they would order from the location in Suncrest. "We loved the breadsticks," Kristin Rodney said. "If you ask me that's the reason we bought the place."

Consistency is the focus of the parent company. They want a customer in Medical Lake to enjoy the same food they would at any other location.

Medical Lake's store is one of 112 in the Pizza Factory family, with most based out of California. It was No. 12 in company growth in 2016, Kristin Rodney said.

Medical Lake Pizza Factory

123 S. Broad St.

(509) 299-9100

pizzafactory.com/medical-lake

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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