There will soon be a Little Caesar’s location dishing out Hot-N-Ready pizzas in every part of Elkhart County.
Kerri and Dale Wallace, the corporation’s exclusive franchisee for the county and owners of four Little Caesar’s stores, had received approval from corporate Little Caesar’s two and a half years ago to place a fifth location on Nappanee Street, north of its intersection with Old U.S. 20, but a road project stood in the way.
Now that the road work is finished, the Wallaces have contractors renovating space at 1530 S. Nappanee St. that formerly housed a Family Dollar store, and plan to open Dec. 9.
The Goshen couple, who do business as KR Pizza Inc., also operate Little Caesar’s at 1808 E. Bristol St. and 138 Hively Ave. in Elkhart, 4568 Elkhart Road in Dunlap and 720 Lincolnway East in Goshen.
They also formerly owned stores in Granger and Niles, but sold them because they like to be actively involved in management and wanted to work closer to home as their daughter becomes more active in school sports, Kerri Wallace said.
“We’ve kind of got all the areas covered now, in my opinion,” Kerri Wallace said of Elkhart and Goshen.
With $2.9 billion in gross sales, Detroit-based Little Caesar’s is the nation’s fourth-largest pizza chain, behind leaders Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Papa John’s, according to Pizza Today magazine.
Kerri Wallace has been with the company for three decades. From 1984 to 2004 she was vice-president of operations for a Kalamazoo, Mich. franchisee, then worked at corporate from 2004 to 2006 before opening the Bristol Street store in 2006.
“Little Caesar’s is just a brand that a lot of people in my generation grew up [with],” she said. “It fits a niche in the community, it’s a value-driven company and it’s family owned and operated.”
That niche has been to target busy families with low-priced pizzas that are constantly being made and kept warm for quick carry-out.
“It fits in with everybody’s lifestyle,” Wallace said. “Everyone is so busy now. One thing we can’t create more of is time.”
The new space is much larger than their existing stores, so they plan to move their franchise office there from the Dunlap site. They also plan to lease out part of the building to Elkhart Smoke Shop, which they hope will help generate foot traffic for Little Caesar’s.
“The more people that see we’re in a location, the better off we are,” Wallace said.