SHADYSIDE - Dominic and T.J. DeFelice built DeFelice Bros. Pizza from a family-owned Pizza shop in Shadyside to a multi-state, award-winning stable of locations, offering mouth-watering pizza along with Italian-eatery staples like pasta, calzones and other assorted items.
Thirty-one years later, three company locations and multiple franchise shops provide residents in Ohio, West Virginia and even Pennsylvania with a product that was named the best pizza in the U.S.A. during a global competition in Italy in 2005.
One of those franchise owners is Tony DeFelice, the son of the late T.J. DeFelice and nephew to company owner Dominic. Tony owns and runs the Moundsville store and has done so for nearly 13 years.
TONY?DEFELICE, left, has taken over ownership of the original DeFelice Bros. Pizza, purchasing it off his uncle Dominic DeFelice. Tony is the son of late co-founder T.J. DeFelice.
Tony had also considered expanding an operating a second store, but a family man with three small children, he was hesitant to pick up a second location that was far away from his home in Shadyside.
"I always wanted a second one, but with three small kids, having to drive far every day to a second store wouldn't really work with family," Tony said.
His uncle Dominic offered a solution; one Tony was quick to jump on.
Dominic owned three company stores; Weirton, St. Clairsville and the original and flagship locale in Shadyside.
The elder DeFelice is concentrating on franchising and having one less store to directly manage would free up him to follow this pursuit. So he asked his nephew if he'd be interested in purchasing the Shadyside store.
"This was our first store, so whose hands are better to put it into than my nephew," Dominic said. "He's done very well with the Moundsville store and he'll do very well running this store.
"It's now a franchise store, but nothing is changing except the ownership."
It's still the same pizza with the same recipe and great taste. Customers should expect nothing less.
Tony grew up around the family business and has over a decade of experience in running the Moundsville store. He admitted that he's only as good as the people around him, so he's taking his store manager with him to Shadyside.
"I owe a lot of my success to her. She's been my manager for eight years and has always done a great job," Tony said of Shelly Adams, who will now be the working manager in Shadyside.
Rob Crow, the manager of the Shadyside store under Dominic's leadership and a faithful employee since day one back in 1982, as been transferred to the St. Clairsville store to serve as its manager.
Janelle Crinkey, who was the manager in St.C., has been moved into a new avenue for DeFelice Bros. Pizza employees. She will now function as a managing partner at a yet to be determined location.
"It's just one of the avenues we're looking to explore," Dominic DeFelice said. "We have someone come in and start as an employee and advance to manager, and then managing partner and then owner of their own franchise ... it's something new we are trying and it's exciting."
It's also an exciting time for Tony DeFelice.
Still young - Tony won't turn 35 until January - he's now the owner of two successful locations of an Ohio Valley staple that continues to grow.
Not bad for a guy who, at one point, wasn't sure if the pizza business was right for him.
Tony admits he grew up around the business and worked for his dad and uncle during his teenage years. But while working toward his associate's degree, his plan was to move out of the area and try his luck in a bigger market, like Columbus.
But when his father started to feel the effects of diabetes and his conditioned worsened, he offered young Tony an equipment package and to run the shop in Moundsville.
"I wanted to do my own thing with my own identity, but when the opportunity came about, it wasn't something that I was going to pass up," Tony DeFelice said. "To be that young and have that great of an opportunity, you have to take it.
"Now I'm glad about the decision I've made. It's given me a good life and I've met a lot of great people and worked with a lot of great people.
"My success is based on those people down (in Moundsville)."
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