Boystown's Pie Hole to close after ten years

Mon. June 16, 2014 3:49 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

Staff and equipment consolidated to Andersonville location

Chicago, IL - Pie Hole's Boystown location at 3477 N. Broadway will close on June 29, following the Chicago Pride Parade, a month of Pride festivities and more than ten years in the neighborhood.

"Like so many small businesses, we suffered through a horrible winter season," said owner Doug Brandt in an email statement sent to ChicagoPride.com on Monday. "Our bootstrap budget couldn't fight all the high costs of food and supplies, and utilities and employment... and allow us to provide the kind of service and quality the people expect and deserve these days."

According to Brandt, the change in the Pride Parade route two years ago also impacted businesses along Broadway between Grace and Belmont. For Pie Hole, this impact was equivalent to two to three months of rent. Brandt said that he "really counted on that revenue every year. [The rerouting] was quite a blow to us."

Last year, Pie Hole opened of a second location, financed in part by a then-unprecedented online crowdfunding loan facilitated by LendSquare.com.

"The response to opening PH2 [in Andersonville] was amazing," according to Brandt. "There was so much support and excitement!"

But for Pie Hole, bootstrapping meant having to buy used equipment that turned out to be faulty, and it meant having to open ahead of schedule because they needed a source of revenue.

"And we suffered dearly from those decisions," said Brandt. "We weren't ready to open early, but we had no choice. We needed money to come in, but we really weren't quite ready. And then things just kept getting worse."

Those unforeseen equipment and facility repairs and maintenance put a dent in the Andersonville location's operating budget over the busy summer months, leading to mounting debt over the slow winter months.

"We just didn't have the resources to run two locations effectively... and properly," said Brandt. "Something had to give. We accepted that we had to pull back, regroup, rethink... and hopefully come back stronger than before."

According to Brandt, Pie Hole follows a disturbing economic trend of local area businesses admitting to financial struggles or simply closing down, including recent headlines from Homemade Pizza Company, Hot Doug's and Joel Hall Dance Studios.

"I'm not ashamed, really. I don't have any regrets," he said. "There's no use living in Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Land. I suppose it was a risk to come clean and announce that we were going to close the one location, but I've always tried to run the business with 100 percent transparency. And I didn't want to suddenly close [Broadway] and leave some cryptic sign on the door. Our fans and employees deserve better than that."

Brandt said as a gesture of good faith, Broadway employees in attendance at an employee meeting last week were offered opportunities to transfer to Andersonville, after they were told their location would close.

Once The Broadway location closes, equipment and supplies will be consolidated, and then moved to the Andersonville location at 5001 N. Clark St. 

"It will be nice to have a proper oven and line stations up there," said Brandt. "It will be nice to have a fresh start, with better equipment and additional experienced staff."

Meanwhile, fans of Pie Hole in East Lakeview still have two weeks to get their fix.

"We love the location and we're sad to go," explained Brandt, "Pie Hole 'grew up' in Boystown. But we hope to see our neighbors and friends during the month of June, and after that in Andersonville."

Pie Hole Pizza Joint in Andersonville will be closed June 30 through July 2 while they consolidate and install equipment, but will re-open for the July 4 holiday.

For more information and to keep up with the company, go to
facebook.com/pieholepizzajoint


From a news release

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