Gathering with family members or friends to view a rented movie and consume fresh pizza can be a pleasant way to spend an afternoon or evening. Family Video has launched a unique partnership with Marco's Pizza to make that an especially convenient option in many locations across the nation. When Marco's Pizza was launched in Fort Dodge in September 2012 at 1511 Second Ave. N., this community became the first Family Video location in Iowa to also feature a Marco's Pizza outlet.
Marco's Pizza is a fast-growing restaurant chain that according to information provided by the company already operates more than 400 franchised or company-owned stores in 30 states as well as in the Bahamas and Panama. Company plans call for adding as many as 1,500 Marco's Pizza locations in the next few years. A Feb. 8, 2012, Marco's press release indicated that Family Video is expected to hold the franchise to operate as many as 350 Marco's Pizza stores as part of what is now an approximately a 775-store movie rental network.
Marco's Pizza is thriving in Fort Dodge, but most Iowans are probably still unfamiliar with the company. Though the chain is expanding fast, the Fort Dodge Marco's Pizza at Family Video was the first Marco's in Iowa as well as the initial partnering of the two companies in the Hawkeye State. There are now Marco's Pizza outlets in Davenport and Waterloo, and more will open elsewhere in Iowa soon.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Marco’s Pizza manager Jacque Dunbar shows off a freshly baked pie all ready for delivery to a customer. Marco’s Pizza opened in 2012 at 1511 Second Ave. N.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Marco’s Pizza pie maker/driver Bridgette Bass cuts a pie fresh out of the oven into slices before boxing it up for the customer.
Jacque Dunbar, a 2007 graduate of St. Edmond High School who is a business student at Iowa Central Community College, has managed the Fort Dodge Marco's since early December 2013. She said pizzas and baked sub sandwiches are the most popular items on the store's menu, but the selection includes far more than those featured items.
"We also have sides like CheezyBread and CinnaSquares," she said. "We offer salads, sodas and hot wings."
There are eight varieties of subs. The pizzas come with three crust options and in four sizes. The store specializes in carryout and delivery. Catering is also offered.
Reflecting on what sets Marco's pizzas apart from the competition, Dunbar emphasized the quality of the product.
"We use fresh dough every day," she said. "We make it ourselves. ... And we have fresh ingredients. We make the sauce every day. Chop up fresh tomatoes. And something different that we have right now is called crust toppers. We have different seasonings that we put on the crust after the pizza is made. It seems to be really popular. The seasonings are Roma, parmesan cheese or garlic butter. It just goes on the crust when the pizza is done cooking. A lot of people order them."
The tie-in with Family Video also makes the store unique in the local pizza world.
"Any carryout with a large pizza, you get a free rental," Dunbar said. "Someone can call next door and order a movie, and they will bring it over and we will deliver it."
She said this convenience is a service that is still evolving.
"I don't think a whole lot of people know about it yet, but it is starting to catch on," Dunbar said.
Customers can place a Marco's order in the store, by telephone or online at Marcos.com.
Given the highly competitive nature of the restaurant industry, Marco's features an assortment of promotions that appeal to the price-conscious patron.
The store has a punch-card system that rewards repeat customers.
"Nine punches and on the 10th you get your pizza free," Dunbar explained. "There are double punches on Mondays and Tuesdays."
Additionally, there is an ever-changing assortment of coupon discounts.
Dunbar said the 15-person team that staffs the Fort Dodge Marco's is one of the secrets of the store's success.
"I really like working with the people who work here," she said. "Everybody gets along really well. There's a lot of cohesiveness. Not a lot of problems. People communicate really well. That is definitely an asset to the business because we are able to make a better product because we communicate and get along."
Dunbar has a message for those who have yet to sample Marco's wares.
"We take a lot of pride in our product and our customer service," she said. "It's definitely worth a try. I heard a lot of good things about this pizza even before I worked here. ... It's something new and different and really worth a try."
Marco's is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays the store opens at 11 a.m. and closes at midnight.
About Marco's Pizza
Headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, Marco's Pizza characterizes itself as the nation's fastest-growing pizza company.
Pasquale "Pat" Giammarco, who moved to the U.S. from Italy when he was 9 years old, founded the enterprise. Giammarco grew up working in his family's pizzeria. The company he subsequently established is committed to making authentic Italian pizza based on the lessons Giammarco learned from his family, according to the corporate website. The first Marco's Pizza outlet opened in Toledo, Ohio, in 1978.