Domino’s Pizza opens 16,000th store in Cheektowaga

The ribbon is cut on the 16,000th Domino's Pizza. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
The ribbon is cut on the 16,000th Domino's Pizza. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA – The largest seller of pizza by volume in the world has opened its 16,000th store right here in the Town of Cheektowaga.

Domino’s Pizza celebrated the occasion by hosting a party and ribbon cutting late Monday morning at the 4395 Union Road location.

Standing with the many people packed into the tiny store is Jerry Cullinan of Ellsworth Drive.  You couldn’t miss him because he was the odd-man out among the Domino’s corporate folks dress in business casual.  He was dressed pizza casual wearing a hat and shirt that sported the phase I love Pizza.

“I actually put this together the last hour before I got here.  It’s something my mom would have done to tell you the truth,” he says.

Jerry Cullinan samples Domino's Pizza at their grand opening on March 4, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Jerry Cullinan samples Domino’s Pizza at their grand opening on March 4, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

Pizza ranks at the top of his favorite foods.  He’s sampled different varieties from across the country and journals about his experience.  When he’s not eating pizza out, he eats it off of a homemade pan forged by his father decades ago.

“That’s probably my favorite food – pizza. I have eaten pizza for a month straight one time, and that was a little bit overwhelming,” he says with a chuckle as we sample the restaurant’s cheese and pepperoni offering that was being handed out for free.

“The whole event is about pizza, and it seemed like a good time to check it out,” said Mr. Cullinan adding that while Joey’s Pizza in Depew is one of his favorites, “I hope it inspires the local pizzerias to learn and capitalize on what they could do.”

The location fills a storefront left vacant and blighted when, according to a 2016 WGRZ.com article, Page Ventures, LCC closed 13 of their 26 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the Buffalo market to “streamline and strengthen” their business.

“This is an incredible milestone for Domino’s, and I am beyond excited it is happening in Cheektowaga,” said Ritch Allison, Domino’s President, and CEO.  “We’ve grown our total global store count by nearly 4,800 stores in the past five years, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to commemorate our 16,000th store in the world, right here in New York.”

Allan Erwin is the Cheektowaga Domino’s franchise owner.  He began his career with Domino’s in 1993 as a delivery driver. He purchased his first store in 1998 – just five years after joining the company. He now owns 37 stores throughout New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.

He moved to Upstate New York three years ago to take advantage of a “great” opportunity.

An employee prepares a pizza during Domino's Pizza grand opening event on March 4, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
An employee prepares a pizza during Domino’s Pizza grand opening event on March 4, 2019. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

“A great opportunity to employ hundreds and hundreds of team members that just like me can start as a delivery driver and work themselves up into anything they want to be and that’s the best thing about Domino’s Pizza to me,” said Mr. Erwin.

During the ceremony, the company donated $16,000 the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of the 16,000th store.

The Town of Cheektowaga was also the recipient of a $5,000 grant through the company’s Paving for Pizza Program.

“The Town of Cheektowaga wants to thank Domino’s for giving us the grant money to do some paving in the town, and I would like to present to Domino’s this proclamation and unofficially make today Domino’s Pizza Day in the Town of Cheektowaga,” said Supervisor Diane Benczkowski.

The grant money will be used to help fill potholes in the town according to Ms. Benczkowski.

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