Clintonville chamber's Business of the Year
Pizza topped with goodwill at local Donatos
Involvement in community earns pizzeria recognition from chamber
The Donatos Pizza store at 3489 N. High St. isn't the busiest in the homegrown chain, nor is it the slowest.
But its employees and corporate executives are among the happiest about their shop, selected as the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce's Business of the Year.
The restaurant will be among the honorees at the annual Celebrate Clintonville Awards Dinner and Silent Auction, set March 1 at the Fawcett Center on Olentangy River Road.
"We are all thrilled and honored," store manager Sean Hess said. "It tells us we're doing the right things by being honored by this award.
"Everybody in the company is like super-ecstatic about it."
The business was nominated for the award by customer Debbie Holter.
"I am nominating Donatos Pizza in Clintonville because of the excellent service that is provided and also for the interaction that the manager has with the community," she wrote on the nomination form. "Donatos participates in local area school fundraisers. They also have an intern from a local school working in the store, learning and enhancing their education.
"The store is always neat and clean on the inside and out and certainly projects the image that Clintonville wants to maintain."
"Our company mission statement is to promote goodwill through product, service and people, so we always strive here to promote goodwill in the neighborhood, just being a good neighbor, so we're a good representation of Clintonville, because we're right on High Street in downtown Clintonville," said Hess, manager of the location for the last three years and a 20-year employee of the company.
"It's really important that we shine for Clintonville. It's very important to give back to the community. They support us ... so it's very important for us to take that goodwill and return it right back to the community."
"They donate pizza to different causes and events," said chamber President Jenny Smith. "(Hess is) just a real team player. He has made it so he got that award. His participation in the community has led them to this award."
Hess first went to work for Donatos while he was still in high school in Grove City. He's had other jobs in the intervening years, but, he said, "I always come back home.
"Donatos is a huge family," he said. "We're a family-owned company, so they treat their employees like family."
Donatos as a company is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It was founded in 1963 by Jim Grote when he bought a pizzeria on Thurman Avenue on Columbus' South Side. Donatos now has almost 200 stores in five states.
The 3489 N. High St. location opened in 1987, Hess said.
Other businesses honored recently as Business of the Year by the chamber include Crimson Cup, Mozart's, Beechwold Hardware, KEMBA Financial Credit Union and attache.
The chamber's March 1 event also will spotlight the chamber's Business Person of the Year and the ThisWeek Booster Community Volunteer of the Year, to be featured in the next two editions of the Booster.