GALION — For Jared and Jessica Thew, pizza is a family affair.
Jared was an original crew member when East of Chicago Pizza first opened its Galion location in 1993. As a sophomore at The Ohio State University-Mansfield campus, Thew worked as a delivery driver to help get himself through college.
Before graduating from Ohio State with a degree in education, Thew had transitioned into a position as supervisor in that short time.
More importantly, he met his future wife Jessica in those early years on the job, and they both decided to pursue their future together.
After moving to Pennsylvania in the fall of 1997 to open two East of Chicago stores, Thew was given the opportunity to come back home in 1999 to run the Galion store. Jessica took a position working with the company’s corporate office in Willard.
“Coming back to Galion was something we couldn’t pass up,” Thew said.
And soon after, the Thew’s became owner’s of the franchise, even though Thew’s desire to teach was still a nagging thought in the back of his mind.
“I felt like it was a goal or dream that I needed to fulfill,” he said.
With that in mind, Thew took the step to return to college for his master’s degree. For two years, he spent his days making pizzas and managing his staff, and his evenings were filled with driving to Mount Vernon Nazarene University for classes.
Upon completion of his degree, Thew took a position teaching sixth grade math at Northmor Local Schools before moving to Colonel Crawford Schools to teach fifth graders for for five years.
During those years, East of Chicago was thriving and undergoing changes of its own.
In 2011, the seventh year of ownership for the Thew’s, the decision was made to move their location from the original site on Harding Way East to the current site on Carter Drive, off Ohio 598.
“The opportunity to have a dining area as well as a drive up window was something we couldn’t pass up,” said Thew.
Then, in 2018, the Thew’s were given yet another business opportunity. Thew purchased the Shelby East of Chicago store.
“It was truly a leap of faith for Jess and I,” he said. “But we saw it as the same opportunity as we had when we took over the Galion location.”
With the decision to acquire Shelby, Thew stepped away from his teaching position at Colonel Crawford.
They remodeled the Shelby store to resemble the Galion location and within just 10 days, the Shelby store was open for business..
“It was a whirlwind for us!” Thew recalled with a laugh.
And now, while working between both stores evenly, Jared and Jessica Thew are looking forward to celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the opening of the Galion store — something he is proud to have been a part of.
On March 4 & 5, the Thew’s will celebrate the Galion location with a special of any large pizza for $11.
“You cannot do this all on your own,” Jared said. “It takes a wife like Jessica, our kids. Also, our staff are just a huge support,” he said. “Both Shelby and Galion are tight knit communities that we are proud to be a part of. The communities, churches, and schools makes businesses like ours what they are.”
“Jessica and I give glory to God in all we’ve done!”
Contact Erin Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-468-1117 x-2049.