November 1, 2007

Pizza Options Plentiful in Conifer (Excerpt)
By Pamela Lawson
Staff Writer

Plans for a Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza in Conifer have been four years in the making, say co-owners Ronnette Marshall and David Romero, but this pair believe the wait was worth it.

Corridor residents have swarmed the operation since it opened two weeks ago.

Saturday morning, for example, they sold roughly 8o pizzas in about two hours. The selection is vast — from gourmet pizzas to stuffed pizzas — at the establishment that boasts no ovens and no freezers, which underscores product freshness, Romero said.

Besides offering salads and large containers of soft drinks to go, the store also offers cheesy bread, various calzones, lasagna, and chocolate chip cookie dough and dessert pizzas with apple or cherry filling

The 27-year-old chain pioneered the concept of take-and-bake, and there are now roughly 1,000 franchises in 32 states


Dave Romero, co-owner of the Conifer Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza, holds up a gourmet vegetarian pizza created for a customer on Saturday.  The store opened two weeks ago and has been slammed with customers, said Romero.

"You can pop it in when the family arrives home."
—David Romero, Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza co-owner

The best pizzas are those hot from the oven, Romero believes, emphasizing the value of his hand-rolled dough made from scratch. Baked pizzas that travel home in a box get cold and soggy, he said.

“We make it convenient. You can pop it in when the family arrives home.”

Romero and Marshall opened their first of three Papa Murphy operations in Colorado 11 years ago when they moved to the state from California. They were working for the same large grocery chain when they decided to head out on their own and buy a franchise. They began attending franchise conventions in search of the perfect business opportunity but became overwhelmed by the selections. Nothing stood out — until one evening after a convention when they stopped at a Papa Murphy’s for takeout. They were so impressed they grabbed a franchise application with their pizza. Three months later, after selling many valuables, they scraped together the money to buy a franchise and opened their first store in Denver.

The business partners moved to the mountains about two years after they came to the state. Marshall lives in Conifer, Romero in Pine.

Romero got into the restaurant business at age 15 and has not lost his enthusiasm for it, despite the long hours and fast pace, he said. His experiences are varied from steakhouses to hotel restaurants. Now his world is all about delightful sauces, meats and dough.

“It’s pretty rewarding, Romero said. “You get to see a lot of happy faces when people pick up their pizzas.’’

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