PORT HAWKESBURY: With business booming and employee numbers on the rise, a long-time Reeves Street restaurant is getting applause from the mayor and town officials for its upgraded façade, innovative new services and further expansion plans.
Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Terry Doyle visited A-1 Pizza Monday morning to salute owner George Youssef for the upgrades he and his staff have carried out over the past six months. These developments include updated exterior signage, upgrades to the facility’s kitchen equipment, a new drive-through option for pizza-slice sales, and a planned expansion of the dining area into a portion of the building that once housed a convenience store.
“This new façade serves as an ideal example of how we wish to develop our main commercial artery through the Destination Reeves Street project,” Chisholm-Beaton declared. “We recognize that real change can only be realized by private businesses investing in commerce. Port Hawkesbury Town Council wants to improve the way in which we welcome new businesses, and recognize those existing businesses that make significant improvements to their establishments.”
Doyle noted that Youssef’s designs for the revamped signage and exterior wound up eclipsing a proposal drawn up in the early stages of the town’s façade investigations for Reeves Street.
“They’ve gone ahead of the façade program – the façade program hasn’t been [officially] rolled out, because we’re still waiting for money from our federal and provincial partners. But from the town’s perspective, we’re very, very grateful that they’ve made this move and shown what can happen when you invest in your business and improve the streetscape of the town.”
The investments are already paying off for Youssef, who has seen business jump by 15-to-20 per cent over the winter months and now has 15 people on staff – a far cry from his arrival at A-1 Pizza in late 2010, when he found himself as the only employee. With the expansion into the former convenience store location expected to begin in earnest next month, Youssef is already expecting to take on another five staffers for the busy summer rush.
As part of the new look for A-1 Pizza, Youssef is also preparing to sell baked goods from Petit de Grat’s Corner Bridge Store, which is currently weighing its expansion options for Port Hawkesbury.
“I do think businesses should support the smaller ones,” he added.