Northern Tier Papa John's all about being local

CHAMPLAIN - The Papa John's on U.S. Route 11 is locally-owned, which is something very important to Tawnya Hanson.

Hanson, co-owner of the Champlain location, said many people don't realize the majority of Papa John's are owned by locals.

"With any franchise that has a big name, like Papa John's, Dunkin Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken, they think it's that company that owns it and it's not," Hanson explained. "It's franchisees that buy into the company name."

Hanson, director of operations at M & W Foods Inc., said one day she was eating Papa John's with M & W vice president Ray Aley when he brought up the idea of owning one.

"After a meeting we were nibbling away on the leftovers and he said, 'We should open a Papa John's,' and I started to laugh and said, 'Yeah, we should with as much business as we give them.' About a week later, he called me up. He wasn't joking. I was. He said, 'We're opening a Papa John's, where do you want to go,'" recalled Hanson.

She chose the location of Champlain having been a manager of the Dunkin Donuts there for many years and being familiar with the area.

"I like the people in Champlain," said Hanson.

On Aug. 24, Hanson, along with Aley and her boyfriend, Chad Brown, opened Papa John's.

Brown and Hanson, both of Plattsburgh, said they feel it's really important for people to realize they are locals who want to help the community in whatever way possible.

"We really want to get involved in the community, we just haven't had a chance yet," Hanson explained. "We'd like to get involved in the schools in the area. Maybe do an honor student program. There's enough space here to maybe have a birthday party."

Brown said another way they've been working to help the community is by extending their delivery zone.

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