Small Business Spotlight: Happy’s Pizza
Along Woodward Avenue, just north of West Grand Boulevard, you will find nestled between Detroit’s historic New Center and North End neighborhoods a local pizzeria that believes in putting family and community first. Guided by those principals, owner Tony Yasso is building his Happy’s Pizza franchise empire. At only 36 years old, Yasso’s entrepreneurial hustle has led him to open three of the most profitable and awarded locations in the region with stores serving the Plymouth-Evergreen area west of Detroit and also Toledo, Ohio. “The community and our dedication to excellence are the reasons why my team and I have been so successful. Like our corporate family, we built our business on putting our customers first and being community stewards.” Part of that stewardship comes in the form of hiring locally with approximately ninety five percent of his employees hired from the neighborhoods they serve.
Born into a family of entrepreneurs, Yasso’s drive comes from seeing his father grow a poultry farm from a few chickens to one of the most successful in their region in Iraq before immigrating with his family to the United States 13 years ago. “The transition to the U.S was difficult, but it has been our friends, family supportive staff at the Chaldean Chamber of Commerce that helped us to adjust to our new life here”: said Yasso.
When he and his family first arrived in Detroit, Yasso found employment at Happy’s Pizza as a pizza maker. Through hard work he was able to quickly move through the ranks to ultimately oversee store operations when Happy’s Pizza Corporation opened stores in the Midwest and in California. During his time in operations, Happy’s Pizza, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, grew to over 100 stores. But Yasso felt something was missing. His desire to open his own store to make a difference to in the community and leave a legacy for his family had remained strong since relocating to the U.S. With the support of his father and older brother, Yasso took the leap of faith to open up his first location. “It really is a family affair here. It was my dad who believed in my vision and help the fund my first store. Everyday both my dad and brother arrive at 5:30 a.m. to conduct al of the prep work for the day and help to manage the store.” said Yasso.
Happy’s Pizza is located at 7450 Woodward Avenue, Detroit 48202 between West Grand Boulevard and Custer. It is open seven days a week, Sundays 11 a.m. – Midnight, Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – Midnight and Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Free parking is available in the adjacent lot along with delivery options throughout the Greater Downtown, New Center and North End neighborhoods. Catering services area also available to meet every event need. For more information please call 313.874.5555 or visit ww.happyspizza.com.