Celebrating 40 Years
Tucked away on East Second Street, Lena’s Pizza has been a longstanding staple of the Jamestown community.
Don and Jami Olson have been the owners of Lena’s Pizza for 40 years, following a Fredonia man by the name of Frank St. George who sold the business in 1974 to the Olsons.
“When my husband Don went to college, he worked at Lena’s,” Mrs. Olson said. “He thought it would be better to be his own boss and ended up buying it because the guy didn’t want to own it.”
Being from Fredonia, George had a 40-minute drive he just didn’t want to make on a regular basis, according to Mrs. Olson.
“He wasn’t coming back and forth to town, he was coming every once in a while to collect the money,” Olson said. “One day he came in and made a decision he was selling it.”
Olson, who had just received his degree from Jamestown Community College, jumped at the opportunity. He had been searching for jobs, but wasn’t very happy with the prospects out there for him.
“They wanted me to wear a suit, white coat and sit with a bunch of guys at minimum wage,” Olson said. “I told them if I was going to do that, I’d come back here and work. I did, and came back for a little while, and he decided to sell it right there.”
Much has changed in the last 15 years ever since business picked up. While Lena’s Pizza still doesn’t deliver – except for lunch orders which are more than $30, the business has added wings to its menu due to popular demand. The Olsons also changed the quality of the ingredients, so they were using a higher grade of materials. They bought out the houses on either side of the business and made them into parking lots as the business became more popular to allow for more room to expand. The kitchen itself has gone through renovation in the past two years bringing the equipment up to date.
“You can’t let things go,” Olson said. “You have to keep up with the times, I guess.”
The Olsons, who hail from Falconer, are looking to make Lena’s Pizza a family business. Their eldest son, Randy, has been managing the pizza shop and will be taking over for his parents once they retire.
The family tries to give back to the community by giving a lot of donations – about 95 percent of letters asking for donations will receive money. This comes to tens of thousands of dollars a year.
“Twenty dollars may not seem like much, but we are doing it hundreds of times a month,” Olson said. “We are doing the school stuff – all the school stuff – because all the schools around here send us stuff.”
Lena’s Pizza will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this week starting Monday with different specials every day, giveaways, T-shirts, sweatshirts, gift certificates for pizza and more.
Lena’s Pizza is located at 902 E. Second St. Business hours are Sunday through Thursday from 4-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4-11:30 p.m. with lunch on Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The business can be contacted at 484-0600.