SILER CITY — Deanna Edmisten and her husband, Todd, took their children and extended family for meals at Sir Pizza many times since its opening more than 30 years ago.
They imagined — but couldn’t have known — owning the Siler City staple, and being able to carry on decades’ worth of labor and love.
“At the time, we thought that sounded really cool, but we didn’t really think we were very serious about it,” Todd said. “But then as time went on, we talked about it some more … and then some other things just kind of fell into place.”
Deanna and Todd were approached by Jeff Shaw and his wife Ann, who’ve co-owned the Siler City Sir Pizza since its opening on Mar. 29, 1990. Jeff and Ann already knew the Edmistens; Deanna and Todd’s son, Josh, even worked at Sir Pizza at one time.
So when the Shaws were starting to think about selling the restaurant to start their retirement, Jeff said the first family he thought of when it came to selling the restaurant was the Edmistens.
“He (Josh) had showed interest in ownership during that time as far as owning a franchise someday, and so when we decided we wanted to sell, we approached them and started talking,” he told the News + Record.
After Deanna and Todd were approached by the Shaws, they reached out to other family members, including Josh and his wife, Kelsey, and Josh’s aunts and uncles, Rodney and Leslie Cox and Jerry and Katie Cox.
“Deanna and I kind of talked and decided that it would be a good idea or a fun idea to maybe include the whole family,” Todd said. “As a family, we’ve talked over the years about how fun it would be to come up with some kind of family business, and we’ve talked about a million different things. This kind of fell in our lap, so we thought — you know what? Let’s try.”
It took 45 days from start to finish for the Edmistens and Coxes to purchase Sir Pizza from the Shaws. The process entailed various measures, from contacting vendors to stocking up on pizza ingredients to filing papers with the state.
The goal: the Edmistens would take over operation of Sir Pizza starting Jan. 1.
“There was a lot of steps and … you can’t do one thing until you get this other thing done,” Katie said. “And then having a deadline of Jan. 1, there’s been a lot going on in the last 30 to 45 days.”
The Edmistens and Coxes became the owners on Dec. 30. When the restaurant opened its doors for the day two days later, the family was at Sir Pizza, introducing themselves to the community and working hands-on to learn about the restaurant business.
“We need to get to know our customers, and they need to get to know us … and then from our standpoint, we need to understand the business better,” Todd said. “Our involvement is important because it’s the right thing to do for our customers, but also for us to learn the business and how we can improve the business and make it successful and make it better, etc.”
While the reins of Sir Pizza have changed, staffing and the dining experience will remain the same. Shaw said the general manager he hired, Kristin Oldham, is going to stay on staff and help the Edmistens and Coxes learn the ropes.
“Nothing’s going to change for Sir Pizza as far as the new ownership goes … She [Kristen] will be remaining as the GM — she’s the backbone of our business, and she keeps daily operations going,” Shaw said. “We hand selected who we wanted to sell to and during our negotiations and talks and everything, they reassured us and we reassured them … the business stays the same, maintaining the same quality of standards that we’ve given.”
Shaw said he was thankful for the support the Siler City community has given him and his wife over the last three decades as the owners of Sir Pizza, and encouraged those long-time supporters in the community to embrace the new owners and continue to enjoy Sir Pizza the same way.
In addition, Shaw said he wants Sir Pizza to continue to give back to the community, which is something the Edmistens and the Coxes assured him would continue under their leadership.
“We really became part of the community and service oriented,” Shaw said. “We always felt that way, we felt like we were here as a purpose for Siler City. They really gave back to us, and we always want to support them and all the activities and organizations. It was important to us.”
The Edmistens and Coxes plan to continue the legacy of Sir Pizza’s service to the community, but they also want to bring their own values to the restaurant.
The most important thing they want those in the community to experience when they dine at Sir Pizza is simple: they want you to feel like family.
“I want them to feel like an extended part of the family,” Katie said. “We want them to, you know, get to know us and get to know our families, we want our families to be involved in that … I want it to be something that families want to come to and think about when they think of, ‘Hey, where can we all go? Sir Pizza.’”
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at @HeedenTaylor.