Twenty years ago, when Pagliacci Pizza opened the Juanita store, it was part of our ambitious foray to the Eastside, where we opened three locations in one year: Bridle Trails, Juanita, and Crossroads. In 1999, the area around our Juanita store was sleepy. If Pagliacci’s reputation hadn’t already spread across the lake, the challenge would have been much more difficult. Fortunately, with a twenty-year history and nine Seattle stores by then, customers sought us out. Thrilled our pizza was now available on their side of the lake, they helped spread the word.
We got another boost from Jeff Woodruff, now our VP of Operations, but then a fresh-faced young man not far out of college. Juanita was his hometown. As the manager of Pagliacci’s West Seattle store for three years, he’d impressed Dorene Centioli-McTigue, the founder of Pagliacci, with his people skills, ambition, and culinary abilities. She’d tasked him to open all three Eastside stores. Back then, Pagliacci was a smaller company. Now when we open stores, we have a support team of Field Managers who have been with the company for years, each an expert in every area of operations. What Jeff had then were dedicated owners, creativity and a product he loved.
At Crossroads, Jeff couldn’t hire enough drivers to meet demand, so he ended up recruiting Terry McTigue, Dorene’s husband, and Scott France, who worked in finance for Pagliacci (now the CEO of Macrina). One night, out with a double—two delivery orders—Terry delivered the first, only to discover he’d locked his keys in the car. With no other way to get the second order delivered on time, he found a large rock and smashed his window. That’s just how we roll at Pagliacci.
In that pivotal year, Pagliacci established a loyal following on the Eastside. We were guided by the belief that if you make excellent pizza day in and day out, stick to your values and provide great customer service, people will seek you out. We now have six stores on the Eastside, and aside from one location change— we moved Bridle Trails in March 2005 to its present location on the nearby corner of NE 70th Place and 130th Avenue NE—the first three Eastside locations are still very much the same as they were.
It brings us great satisfaction to see that twenty years later all three of those locations are still thriving and have drawn thousands of customers through their doors. We couldn't do this without managers like Freddy, the current manager of Juanita. Freddy has worked at several of our locations over the five years he's been with the company, and continues to help us acheive our mission to Always Deliver Excellence.
While we’ve stayed focused on doing what we do best, the area around the Juanita store has changed significantly. The renovated Juanita Beach Park spurred much new growth, both residential and commercial. We couldn’t be prouder to be part of the thriving community.