ALL ABOUT THE PIZZA: Marco’s owners focus on delivering quality product to customers

Published 3:00 am Friday, August 25, 2017

When the market crashed in 2008, Tommy Russell and his friends George Corcoran and Grady Lee began searching for a business to invest in instead of the stock market.

Russell said the group looked at all kinds of business: Laundromats, quick lubes, auto repair shops– all the while enjoying the new Marco’s in their hometown of Columbus, Georgia.

“We were all talking about the new pizza place and how good it was,” Russell said. “There was a poster in the window for franchise opportunities. The more we went in the store, we realized the product was phenomenal; we fell in love with the pizza. We called the number and took the next step and, before we knew it, we had signed up for a store.”

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Eight years later, the three friends own eight stores including their newest property that opened in the Park Place Shopping Center earlier this year.

“One of the reasons we looked at Troy is because it’s growing, both the university and the town itself,” Russell said. “We like going into Publix centers they’re a great neighbor look at same things we do. We believe the customers shopping there for quality product and superior service will come to us for the same reasons.”

Troy is also an area that fit for the owners, who still live in Columbus and look to find locations within reasonable driving distance from their homes. All three have since sold their other businesses and now focus on Marco’s full-time.

Russell said the goal in Troy is to serve locals first with the added bonus of the university population.

With class just returning to session at Troy, Russell said business is already seeing a boon.

“We’ve started to see weekly sales and daily numbers starting to increase,” Russell said. “When people go to checkout online, they have the option to receive offers and students are all very tech-savvy; they’re signing up and getting those offers. That all helps build on our daily sales and weekly sales. And as we grow, we get to hire more people.”

Russell said he wants the taste of the pizza to drive people to the store.

“Our goal is to provide a five-star customer experience whether someone happens to be passing through Troy or they’re locals and students,” Russell said. “We want someone to eat our pizza and have the same experience we do.

“We want customers to be so impressed they can’t wait to tell a friend and that’s what we see happening now.”

It’s the process of making the pizza that Russell said puts it above the rest.

“Our founder is Italian and of all the major brands, we have the only Italian founder out there,” Russell said. “Pasquale Giammarco moved to the U.S and started own Marco’s in Toledo, Ohio using a recipe passed down from his grandparents,” Russell said. “We use that same recipe; our dough is made fresh in the store every day, we use a proprietary three-cheese blend, our meat has no fillers or byproducts– it’s truly a fresh pizza.

“It’s basically back to the basics with a good quality Italian recipe; we don’t cut corners on cost of the product. We buy the same cheese, flour, meats that they have always done. We are not changing to a substandard product to save money on the pizza.”

Marcos is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays. It is located in the Park Place Shopping Center next to Publix.