Fifteen years after opening the first Minuteman Pizza, chain founder and president Larry Taylor is back in the kitchen.

Fifteen years after opening the first Minuteman Pizza, chain founder and president Larry Taylor is back in the kitchen.

And this time, he has company.

In February, Taylor and three other Pickerington families became owners of the Minuteman at 80 W. Church St. in the Olde Pickerington Village.

The goal, Taylor said, was to provide the community with more than pizza.

"That store was being run just about as good as any pizza place in Pickerington," Taylor said. "But that wasn't good enough for me. I wanted it to be the best pizza shop in Pickerington and the strongest in the Minuteman chain. It is my hometown and I wanted to have the best Minuteman Pizza so my friends and church family and neighbors could get the best service and best everything."

Taylor founded Minuteman Pizza in 1993 in a strip center at the intersection of Tussing and Brice roads. Eventually, the chain grew to 16 stores. The newest location is under construction in Chillicothe. All but one are franchises.

The owners of the Pickerington store -- Taylor, George Surgeon, James Lee and Evan Gatian -- are doing business as 4 Families for Him. All four moved to Pickerington about 10 years ago and became friends through their membership in the Pickerington Church of the Nazarene.

"I said to them, this is our opportunity to answer a challenge given to us by our pastor about how we can make a difference in the community," Taylor said. "We thought we could make a difference by operating a business in Pickerington and having an effect on the employees, the community and customers.

"We thought if we could extend kindness and grace to our customers and employees, the same Christ-like attitude would be extended to their friends and neighbors in Pickerington," he said.

Since taking over, the families have made some changes at the shop, including adding an ice cream parlor. They also have made an effort to be involved with a number of community groups and events, including churches, sports teams, civic organizations, Relay for Life and the Violet Township Bicentennial Commission.

"I don't think we've said 'No' to anybody," Taylor said. "We may not be able to give everyone hundreds of pizzas, but in one way or shape we are contributing everything we can."

Apparently, the approach is working. Taylor said the store had record sales in May and is going strong. The attraction, he said, goes beyond the food.

"It's not just bout the pizza," Taylor said. "We're all in there - our wives, ourselves and our kids. When customers come in, they are going to see one of us. We think that is important. It's developing a relationship with our customers.

"They have other choices for pizza in Pickerington," he continued. "But if we can do things better than everyone else, as well as build a personal relationship with our customers, then everybody wins."