Godfathers Pizza

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storewanderer
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Godfathers Pizza

Post by storewanderer » 12 Sep 2007 04:08

I've been watching the condition of the freestanding neighborhood Godfathers deteriorate for years. The parking lot is like dirt. The building paint was in total disrepair for years. The white background sign was so filthy it was turning brown. Within the past couple years they finally repainted the building and replaced the sign.

Today I noticed a big sign in front of it that said PAD FOR LEASE and had a website for a local commercial real estate agency. Sure enough, the location was listed. Another freestanding location in a neighboring town is also listed. The listings show date available of "immediately" for both of them. The neighborhood one is still operating. I tried looking into the windows to see how things looked inside but the windows were so dirty it was hard to see in.

I visited their website and looked around at the store locator. They seem to have a coast to coast presence but very few states with over 25 stores. Only one state, FL, has over 100 stores. I'm guessing they are at around 500 locatons.

Does anyone know what their location count was in the past? I thought they had 800 or so locations going about 10 years ago.

The local franchisee had/has three locations within walking distance of open campus high schools and in the early 90's made a policy that nobody under 17 was allowed inside the locations until after 3 PM. I once tried going into one when I was in grade school on a day when we had "early dismissal" for some reason with two friends and we were kicked out, even after explaining we had early dismissal. I guess turning away potential customers eventually comes back to haunt a business, but sometimes it takes a while. Those of us who were never allowed into Godfathers during daytime hours 10-15 years ago are today's potential customers and I bet this was a real component in the failure of the local operator.
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Post by Jeff » 12 Sep 2007 08:43

I remember a lot of Godfathers pizza's coming into SoCal right after Sambos closed. Most were in the Sambos spots. They didn't last long and Baker's Square moved in soon after.

I do remember one location still open a few years ago in San Diego, on Midway.

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Post by J-Mac » 13 Sep 2007 02:29

Jeff wrote:I remember a lot of Godfathers pizza's coming into SoCal right after Sambos closed. Most were in the Sambos spots. They didn't last long and Baker's Square moved in soon after.

I do remember one location still open a few years ago in San Diego, on Midway.
One such location at Moody St. and Lincoln Ave in Cypress, CA made it from Sambos to Seasons to Godfathers to Bakers Square and has finally settled in as an IHOP. And yes, I've at that location under each flag... go figure.

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Godfathers

Post by storeliker » 14 Sep 2007 03:42

Where we lived it went from Sambos which endured for years then to more politically correct short lived Seasons and then bldg became Godfathers which in stayed in business for a good ten years. Not sure what the building is now but sure it is not a Godfathers Pizza. Godfathers went out about the same time Shakeys did.
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Sambos-Seasons-Godfathers

Post by storeliker » 14 Sep 2007 03:48

I see a post above for one that had same conversion in Soutnerhn California. The oneis up up in Washington at the side of old Highway 99. I'm not sure what the bldg is now or if in existance.
Was this a wide spread thing Sambos/Seasons did after the new name failed? Did God fathers buy out most of the locations whatever year they started to franchise? When did they start dropping locations? A good ten years it seems.
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Post by Jeff » 14 Sep 2007 10:45

I forgot about seasons....I never ate there.

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Post by Jeff » 14 Sep 2007 10:53

Wow, I was looking at Godfather Pizza's website (they are still around) and they do have 8 locations still in California....anyone know if these were former Sambos?

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA:
Union City - Alvarado Bl
Travis AFB
Fair Oaks, CA - Madison Ave
Sacramento - Marconi Ave
Newark - Thornton Ave

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA:
Chula Vista - Broadway
Lemon Grove - Broadway
Spring Valley - Sweetwater Rd

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Post by runchadrun » 14 Sep 2007 10:57

Godfather's was founded in Omaha in 1973.

I tried to figure out the deal between Sambo's and Godfather's but it's complicated because of Sambo's bankruptcy. Eventually there was a 3-way deal splitting the restaurants between Godfather's, Vicorp (parent of Bakers Square), and WR Grace (parent of Coco's). How many of the Godfathers became Bakers Square, I'm not sure. There may have been a franchise deal between Godfather's and Vicorp where Vicorp operated the stores as Godfather's.

In 1984 Godfather's moved their HQ from Omaha to Orange County (Costa Mesa to be exact). At that time they had over 900 restaurants, 670 of them franchised, with plans to open 175 more in 1984. The net gain of restaurants, however, was only 2. In 1985 they fired the CEO who made them move to OC and decided to move back to Omaha.

In the 1980s Godfathers was owned by Diversifoods, which was also Burger King's largest franchisee. Diversifoods was bought by Pillsbury in 1985. In January 1988 Pillsbury closed 43 company-owned outlets. In September 1988 Pillsbury sold the chain to a management-led group. By then they were down to 563 units, 180 of them company-owned.

I was in beautiful downtown Adel, Iowa, in 2004 and came across a Godfather's which was virtually the only restaurant in town. I don't remember if I ate there but I do remember being surprised that the chain still existed.

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Post by storewanderer » 14 Sep 2007 20:50

If anyone wants to see the way these freestanding Godfathers look, there is a roundabout way to do so:

Visit http://www.naialliance.com
Select "available properties"
Select "lease"
Highlight "retail" and "shopping center"
Select "search"

There are two freestanding Godfathers listed 3600 Lakeside and 1515 Oddie which show the company's building style. Lakeside was built in 1979 while Oddie was built in 1980 per the lease listings. Both restaurants continue to operate as of yesterday.

I've seen at least one of these structures in Sacramento on Stockton Blvd. by the Kmart running as a Round Table.
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Post by tesg » 14 Sep 2007 22:12

Godfather's has been shrinking in numbers in Western states for years. I remember being in Boise when the stores were suddenly converted to Round Table Pizza. (mmmm. round table.)

But Godfather's is very much alive and well in the Midwest, particularly in Iowa and Nebraska.

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Post by tkaye » 14 Sep 2007 22:42

Here's another freestanding Godfather's from Bremerton, Wash. that was built in 1979. Godfather's folded about 2000 and has had a couple of incarnations as a Mexican restaurant since then.

Facing west, you can see the familiar roofline

Looking northward, you can see the Godfather's sign frame is still in use.

By the way, there's an ex-Stuart Anderson's Black Angus on the north side of the parking lot (also built in 1979; closed 2004). A former Skippers (built 1974; closed 1994) is across the street, just northeast of the old Godfather's.

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Post by VibeGuy » 15 Sep 2007 02:32

The West Seattle Godfathers location went from Godfathers to gay bar to foofy bistro over the last seven years.

The remaining one in Kitsap County in Port Orchard is in a dead mall, and is *quite* grim.

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Godfathers in Newark

Post by wrallen99 » 15 Sep 2007 03:38

Jeff,

I've been to the Godfather's in Newark, California that is on Thornton. It is a gas station that sells Godfather's pizza by the slice or pie. When you go in, you can see the mixer and oven in the back where they make it, but it is really a convenience store that sells the Godfather's brand of pizza. It's in the two story building you see in this picture on Live Search:
http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2& ... &encType=1

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Post by storewanderer » 15 Sep 2007 17:28

I just ran a search on the Port Orchard location. I think I see it in the large building, http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2& ... &encType=1

The green roof thing out front appears to be an A&W.

Is the right-most anchor space a former Ernst?
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Post by tkaye » 16 Sep 2007 00:55

storewanderer wrote:I just ran a search on the Port Orchard location. I think I see it in the large building, http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2& ... &encType=1
This link sends me to somewhere in Newark, Calif. instead of Port Orchard. I'm familiar with the site in Port Orchard, which was formerly called the South Kitsap Mall -- it was built around 1981 by the Gehring family, which has owned the A&W out front since the '60s. (They also owned A&W Drive-Ins in Bremerton on Kitsap Way and Tacoma on Sixth Avenue many years ago.) A couple of years ago, they sold the mall and it was renamed Towne Square Port Orchard.

It's a very tiny, split-level mall with a lot of vacancies inside. Godfather's is just to the right of main part of the mall. Your guess about Ernst was right... if memory serves me right, they kept this store to the bitter end of the chain.

The space that's now a Goodwill store and previously a Big Lots was originally a Pay 'n Save/PayLess/Rite Aid. The big anchor space on the left (which has no mall entrance) was a Hub Clothing Store -- an Alaska-based chain of about 15 store in small Northwest cities. Hub was purchased by Texas-based Stage Stores in 1998. Stage declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2000, and closed the South Kitsap Mall store. I'm not sure what has been in that space since then, but apparently a Save-a-Lot grocery is slated for somewhere in the center, so maybe that's where it's going.

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