Pizza Ranch owners closed Akron’s doors Monday morning

Posted November 16, 2017 at 3:24 pm

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By Julie Ann Madden

The Akron community knew the Akron Pizza Ranch was on the market for a new owner but it was a shock to all, including employees, when corporate owners shut the doors Monday morning.

There were 13 employees who lost their jobs. Only the managers received severance pay, said Jeff Van Schepen, one of the store’s owners and a member of the Pizza Ranch Corporation, noting the rest were just part-time employees.

“We’ve literally had the Akron store on the market, looking for a local owner — somebody from the community — for probably 10 years now,” said Van Schepen. “We’ve met with different people from the community, trying to find somebody to take the Pizza Ranch and run with it.”

“Owner-operated stores in this size market have worked out well,” he said, “but to own it from a distance hasn’t been as effective.”

“We believe Akron is a viable market yet,” said Van Schepen who was handling the closure with two other corporate members Monday morning. “Our goal would be to sell it as a Pizza Ranch but if somebody wants to open it as a restaurant that is a possibility, too.”

“We actually think this might be an avenue to get it sold,” he said, explaining interested buyers can contact Karla Hertz at Salem Real Estate in Sioux City at 712-251-6861.

“The food has been removed,” said Van Schepen, “but everything (else) will stay in here to hopefully sell it as a Pizza Ranch. We’ve had local interest but haven’t been able (to get it sold).”

“The desire is to showcase it as a Pizza Ranch,” he said referring to the decor and equipment being left intact. “The franchise agreement is still active and will remain active for a couple of months. It will be available and that’s a simple transfer (to a new owner).”

“We thank the community of Akron for all years we’ve been engaged,” said Van Schepen, noting the Akron Pizza Ranch had supplied food to several entities, including the swimming pool, golf course and senior center. “We appreciate all the years of business.”

According to Dick Salem of Salem Real Estate in Sioux City, the selling price is $60,000 and includes the building, equipment and franchise.

“It’s a good buy,” said Salem.

“It always stinks when you lose a business,” said Akron City Administrator Dan Rolfes.

Akron, as a city, does not have any programs to help employees who have lost their jobs, he said. The state and employer has those things.

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