Gathering with family members or friends to view a rented movie and consume fresh pizza can be an enormously pleasant way to spend an afternoon or evening. Family Video has launched a unique partnership with Marco's Pizza to make that an especially convenient option locally. Fort Dodge is set to become the first Family Video location in Iowa to also feature a Marco's Pizza outlet.
Marco's Pizza is a fast-growing restaurant chain that, according to information provided by the company, already operates more than 280 franchised or company-owned stores in 21 states. It is on track to add a great many more outlets in the next two years. A Feb. 8 Marco's press release indicated that Family Video is expected to hold the franchise to operate as many as 350 Marco's Pizza stores as part of its 735-store movie rental network.
At the Fort Dodge Family Video store, 1513 Second Ave. N., Family Video District Manager James Nesseler said the Marco's Pizza section will occupy about 1,400 to 1,500 square feet of the existing store and will feature both carryout and delivery service. The new food operation will begin regular business Sept. 24, but from 2 to 6 p.m., Sept. 23 anyone who stops by can sample this new pizza option for free.
Most Iowans are probably unfamiliar with Marco's Pizza. Though the chain is expanding rapidly nationally, the Fort Dodge Marco's Pizza at Family Video will be the first Marco's in Iowa as well as the initial partnering of the two companies in the Hawkeye State.
Shaine Snodgrass, part of the Family Video management team, will helm the local Marco's Pizza as its general manager. He said he is anxious for Fort Dodgers to experience this new pizza option because he regards it a truly exceptional culinary choice.
"Everything is made to order," Snodgrass said. "We make all the dough fresh every day. ... The quality is so much better than your standard pizza. ... It's authentic Italian pizza. The sauce recipe and cheese recipe were brought over from Italy by the founder's grandmother. ... We'll offer small, medium, large and extra large, which will be 10-inch, 12-inch, 14-inch, 16-inch."
A wide array of toppings will be available as well as two crust options.
"Marco's original hand-tossed and then we have a thick crust option available as well," Snodgrass said.
Underlining the authenticity of its product, the company claims it is unique among the top 25 pizza chains in the United States in that it was founded by someone who actually emigrated here from Italy.
Snodgrass said the pizza his store provides will be both of exceptionally high quality and competitively priced.
He said the first few weeks will feature a number of pricing specials.
"We believe in getting quality pizzas out there," he said. "That's something we're going to push day in and day out. That's the Marco's way."
The menu isn't limited to pizza.
"We've got a lot of great options," Snodgrass said." We're going to have oven-baked sandwiches, fresh salads, CheezyBread,
CinnaSquares, chicken wings, boneless breaded chicken dippers and then the freshest pizza you can possibly get."
Ordering can be in person at the store, online at the Marco's website or by telephone.
Coming in the not-too-distant future will be a feature that is truly innovative. The company is gearing up to offer the simultaneous delivery of a pizza and a movie.
"That won't be initially right out of the gate," Nesseler said. "It will come a little bit later. But that will happen. It's being tested."
This meshing of the specialties of two highly successful business concepts is seen by officials of both companies as a win-win marketing approach.
"Using one to promote the other is definitely going to be beneficial to both parties involved," Snodgrass said, noting that Fort Dodge is at the cutting edge of this new partnership. "We've got four (Marco's) open and operating that are Family Video-owned. ... Using our success with Family Video - great hiring practices, excellent customer service, bringing that over to the Marco's great quality."
The hours of the Marco's Pizza component of Family Video will differ somewhat from the video store hours. Food service will be available Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight.
The new Marco's operation is a positive development in the employment picture in Fort Dodge. The new enterprise will have 40 employees, a mix of full- and part-time positions. Snodgrass said most will be newly hired local people. The video store component regularly employs 10 to 15 people according to Nesseler.