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Incredible Pizza will relocate to Memphis

By BY ALLISON MILES
July 29, 2010 at 2:29 a.m.

Victoria's Incredible Pizza is closing Aug. 8 and is moving to Memphis. Some of the company's employees are moving with them.

RESTAURANT HISTORYLocations: 14

Corporate headquarters: Springfield, Mo.

Founded: By Rick and Cheryl Barsnessn of Victoria

Website: www.incrediblepizza.com

Source: America's Incredible Pizza Company website

Victoria's Incredible Pizza Company is packing its games, shiny red car and, yes, even the management team and heading to Memphis.

Its last day in Victoria is Aug. 8.

The cross-country move is a chance to get into a market with a larger population and join with a Memphis church, Don Potvin, vice president with Incredible Pizza, said Thursday.

The church will be part-owner of the business, something Potvin said is important to a company whose founders and owners try to incorporate Christian values in day-to-day operations.

"We're sad to leave Victoria, but this is just a great opportunity for our business," Potvin said.

Incredible Pizza, which employs about 30 people, has called 3706 N. Navarro St. home for more than three years. The building is up for lease.

The company got its start more than 30 years ago with Rick and Cheryl Barsness, who ran a Victoria pizza restaurant, according to the company's website. Incredible Pizza began franchising the restaurant in 2003.

The upcoming closing hurts because it's one less restaurant for people to eat at in town, said Randy Vivian, president and CEO of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

"There's a lot of competition for the pizza business in Victoria," he said, noting restaurants such as Chuck E. Cheese and Pizza Hut. "It's just sad that they can't all make it. But that's also business, that some don't survive and some do."

The restaurant's building has a long history in Victoria, first as Mr. Gatti's and, later, as Incredible Pizza, Vivian said, adding he expects another restaurant to move into the space in the future.

Bloomington resident Tony De Los Santos visits the restaurant fairly often with his grandson because it's a fun place to escape the summer heat. He found out about the close Thursday while visiting the eatery.

"I was surprised," the Dow employee said. "It seems like there are always customers there. It was full today."

His grandson, 10-year-old Marcus Ortiz, said he was also surprised. He said he enjoys the games, especially a fishing-themed one where the player spins a wheel and wins a prize, depending on where it lands.

"I'll miss it," Marcus said.

The transition into the new restaurant in Memphis is already under way.

Construction has started on the new building, Potvin said, and the projected open date is Sept. 29.

The company will refurbish the current games and equipment and transport it to Memphis, he explained. Five or six people from the management crew will also head up north to keep the restaurant going.

The change is exciting, Potvin said.

"It's a challenge for any business our size to relocate," he said, "but we're looking forward to the challenge."

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