Hungry Howie's on West Stadium closes after 14 years in Ann Arbor
After more than 14 years of serving the Ann Arbor community, the Hungry Howie's located at 2145 W. Stadium closed Tuesday, July 3.
Lawson said there is a “multi-layered” explanation behind the closure and it’s hard to pinpoint just one cause.
Four years ago, Lawson said, his Hungry Howie's locations were the official pizza of the University of Michigan’s Athletic Department.
Lawson said he was carrying a corporate contract for the two stores, but the deal was discontinued. In addition to the Stadium location, Lawson’s second restaurant was located at 4079 Stone School. It closed in November 2009.
“We had two locations in town and things were going very well,” Lawson said. “Our deal didn’t go as planned and it’s kind of been a snowball effect since then.”
Lawson said the decision to close wasn’t one that came about quickly. Instead, it took shape over a period of time.
“It was very difficult to maintain (amid) all of the financial difficulties that came because of that deal falling through,” Lawson said. “That ultimately caused this to happen.”
Lawson had between 15 and 20 employees at the West Stadium location, and he said he tried to help them find other jobs before the closure.
“We actively job-searched together,” Lawson said. “We’re a pretty close-knit group. We’ve been together for a long time.”
Lawson said during his time of owning the place, he developed rich relationships within community.
"Customers came from Dexter, Chelsea and Saline just to get pizza," he said. "That's probably been the hardest part of the entire thing... What I fear is people driving by and not knowing what happened. I'm very sensitive to how my customers will be left."
The space will be available for lease.
The first Hungry Howie's opened in 1973 in Taylor, and is headquartered in Madison Heights. There are more than 545 locations in 21 states.
Katrease Stafford covers the city of Ypsilanti for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at KatreaseStafford@annarbor.com. You can also follow her on Twitter.