ANCHORAGE - A Kentucky businessman and former North Slope oil worker has bought the franchise rights and plans to eventually open 15 to 20 Papa John's pizza restaurants and to-go shops in Alaska.
Papa John's International Inc., based in Louisville, Ky., has more than 2,270 restaurants. Bruce Coe bought franchise rights for the state.
``We'll be in Anchorage and Wasilla to start and then fan out from there,'' Coe told the Anchorage Daily News in a telephone interview from his home in Louisville. He's hired a California woman who's moving to Anchorage this spring to oversee the project. Coe said he already owns 16 Papa John's shops in Southern California.
He said some of the Alaska restaurants will be completed by year's end.
With more than 100 independent pizza makers already baking pies in the city, Anchorage boasts an extremely competitive market, according to Coe. That's not to mention the big chains, including Pizza Hut, Little Caesar's, Domino's and Godfather's, that have a presence, too.
None of that bothers Coe, who said he thrives in a competitive environment. And he's betting the demographics of Anchorage and Wasilla will serve Papa John's well.
``There's plenty of young to middle-age people, with a high level of disposable income and not a lot of time,'' said Coe, describing them as a sector that enjoys a pizza-rich diet.