FORT MILL TOWNSHIP --
At church one Sunday morning, Ginny Myers felt a tap on her shoulder.
She turned around and was asked a question shes hearing several times a day lately.
I heard Village Pizza is opening again. Is it you? I hope its you thats coming back.
Ginny smiled and nodded.
The rumors are true, and now a sign in front of the former Village Pizza proudly announces it: Ginny is back!
Myers plans to reopen in late February in the iconic pizzerias former location in Crossroads Plaza near Tega Cay.
Ginny Myers opened Village Pizza in 1989. She owned and operated it for 18 years, when she sold it to two of her employees, who later sold it to Market Street Pizza. Market Street lasted approximately one year before closing its doors.
Calls to Market Street for comment were not immediately returned.
When Market Street left, Myers got a call from the property managers asking if she had any interest in coming back.
Myers said she had been enjoying retirement for five years. She is active with her church and several charitable organizations and was also enjoying being a grandma, she said.
But she had been thinking about doing something new when this opportunity came up. She and her husband, Bob Myers, a local realtor, decided to jump on it.
There are so many good memories here, she said.
When it reopens in February, Village Pizza will be much like it was before it closed, she said.
Theyll be delivering pizzas, offering a daily lunch buffet and table service at night. The food will be the same pizza, pastas, calzones and Stromboli that people remember.
Its the same ovens, the same mixer, the same cheeses. The only thing we couldnt get back was the old black-and-white pictures that used to be on the walls. (Market Street) threw them out, said Bob Myers.
For some, the value of Village Pizza lay in more than just the food: The business also made a contribution to the community, by hiring local students. In the 18 years Village Pizza was open, Bob Myers estimates, the business hired and trained more than 1,000 high school students. Before the restaurant closed, some of its first hires were returning with their own children.
Theyd say, Teach my kid what you taught me, said Bob Myers.
Hiring for the restaurant will begin in January, and well do that again, he said.
Ginny and Bob Myers are in the restaurant most days now, preparing for opening day. Theyre making changes most wont notice: moving ovens to make the kitchen more efficient and making room for more tables in the dining area. Theyre considering getting rid of Market Streets high-tech point-of-sale system and going back to the way Village Pizza always kept track of customer orders with handwritten tickets.
While they work at the restaurant, theyve learned to leave the door open for the five or more people each day that walk in to confirm what the sign says that the original Village Pizza is coming back.
Former customers light up when they hear its true.
Many customers mention their favorite dishes and are comforted to hear that the menu all of it will be back, just like it was.
The response has been overwhelming, Ginny Myers said. Im excited they are excited and that so many people remember the quality and consistency.
The husband-and-wife team are taking their time to make sure they get everything just right before they open. With an 18-year reputation to uphold, they are conscious of making sure that the opening-day pizzas are as perfect as the Village Pizzas of peoples memories.
We want to make sure the first impression when people come back in is as good as the last impression when we left, Bob Myers said.