Erin Mullins was studying criminal justice at a community college and working as a driver for Domino’s Pizza when she got promoted to assistant manager.
That’s when she decided to quit school and pursue a career with the pizza restaurant company that started in 1960 with one location and now has more than 5,600 stores throughout the U.S.
Now, Mullins is 45 and owns 26 Domino’s locations from Manatee County to Fort Myers and throughout Alachua and surrounding counties.
Her latest location is located at the corner of Newberry Road and Highway 27 in the heart of Newberry just 500 feet from three other pizza restaurants Newberry Pizza, Villaggio’s Pizzeria and Little Caesars.
That’s why some locals have been calling the town “Pizzaberry” or joking that “PizzaGate 2020” is happening.
“The store was supposed to open in October,” Mullins said about how she hadn’t planned to debut the restaurant in the middle of a pandemic with many businesses around her shut down and all three schools in town closed for the rest of the school year. “There were a lot of delays.”
On May 11th a dancing pizza started appearing out in front of the store waiving to potential customers as a way to let everyone know the restaurant was open.
“The city has been amazing,” Mullins said about opening the location that has meant the creation of 25 new jobs including eight drivers for delivery.
This latest store has all of the new technology inside and is catering to the families who need their pizza fix while spending most of their days at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is car-side delivery from the Domino’s app and the restaurant is constructed as a pizza theater design that allows customers to see upfront how the pizzas are made.
Mullins said her other locations will be redesigned over time to become pizza theaters.
“Not only does any store built have to be this design but all of them have to be redesigned,” she said about the other locations built before 2013.
“Jonesville will get done soon,” Mullins said and added that the Tower Road, 39th Street, 13th Street and University Avenue lobbies have already been remodeled.
Mullins said she brought her top crew members to the Newberry location to make sure it was a successful launch and the new crew members trained at the Jonesville location to prepare for the opening.
And as for debuting the new location during a shutdown, Mullins said it’s the rural locations that are buzzing while the Gainesville sites are feeling the absence of the University of Florida student population.
“All of my outlying stores are very busy with everyone at home,” she said. “When UF closed, we lost half my customers, half of my team members.
“It’s the small town ones on the outskirts that are thriving.”
The Newberry location is open Sunday through Thursday 10:30 a.m. to Midnight and Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Photos Courtesy of Domino's Pizza