By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
On July 3, Mike and Robin Hardy became the proud new owners of Parsons Pizza, which is now being called MR Pizza. The former owners, Rick and Audrey Gump, are residents of Grafton and have been in the pizza business for approximately 20 years. However, these lifelong residents of the county are proud to be able to own and operate their own business serving the community they love.
“My vision is I’m going to show the history of Parsons,” said M. Hardy. They have already repainted the interior walls and are working on new booth seating, handmade by the Amish, to accommodate up to 40 customers versus the current 24. They are also set on installing a drink fountain, as R. Hardy said, “We are wanting to make it more dine in friendly.” Having said that, MR Pizza no longer offers pizza delivery, only dine in and carry out. Alcohol is also no longer on the menu, to encourage more of the family friendly atmosphere.
The décor is geared towards memorabilia from the 1800’s to 1950’s, showcasing the heritage of the county by ways of the coal mines, farming, and logging industry. Their goal is to offer several “conversation pieces” to highlight where our small town came from. “We want to pay tribute to the loggers, coal miners, farmers, Kingsford; all of the businesses who have made this town what it is,” he said. A new counter is also in the works, which will be rock lined with a river table top. M. Hardy refers to their style as “industrial primitive”.
When it comes to the menu, it is very similar to what it has been in the past with a few items omitted due to lower sales. However, several components of the recipes have been altered by the Hardy’s. “From the feedback we’ve received, they like it better,” R. Hardy said. With their main menu item being pizza, they also offer hoagies, subs, wings, and cheesy bread. Consideration is going into having a specials night to offer choices of pasta or lasagna, as well as the possibility of a barbecued pulled pork sandwich and pizza. “I’m a perfectionist,” M. Hardy said. “If I don’t like it, I won’t put it out.”
This is the first adventure into entrepreneurship for the Hardy’s. While R. Hardy has been at the establishment around three years, M. Hardy spent 23 years working away from home as a welder and fabricator. Both of them graduated from TCHS as did their parents. When M. Hardy was over the road for work, he noted, “I always loved to come back.” Six years ago, M. Hardy was hired at Kingsford and was able to be home with his family. Just recently, the Hardy’s discussed becoming business owners as a form of retirement plan and approached the Gump’s simply to request first option to purchase if the decision to sell ever came about. M. Hardy laughed and said three days later, they wanted to talk offers.
Though they didn’t expect to own a business that quickly, they are honored and excited to give back to the town and community that they’ve made their life in. They currently have six employees, five of which are family members. M. Hardy said his long term goal is to eventually open a second location in the Davis/Thomas area. “I want to sell and market what the community wants.”
If you would like to check out the new MR Pizza, you can visit them on Second Street, Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., or Sunday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. You can also look them up on FaceBook by searching for MR Pizza; there you can also find a copy of their updated menu.