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Dinner and a movie, delivered to your door

NL businesses Marco’s Pizza and Family Video team up to package at-home entertainment
Andy Ward, store manager for Marco’s Pizza in North Liberty, folds pizza boxes as the restaurant prepares for opening day. (photo by Jen Moore)

NORTH LIBERTY– Who doesn’t love spending a Friday evening curled up on the couch with a hot slice of pizza and favorite movie?
Marco’s Pizza and Family Video are willing to bet that answer is no one.
The pizza place and video rental store have teamed up to offer North Liberty residents a convenient way to get their movie rentals and dinner all at once.
Customers can order their food either on the phone or online, and select a movie to be delivered along with their meal. They can also pick up their pizza and video themselves.
“What we wanted to do was be a one stop-shop for families,” said company district manager Heather Shepherd
Marco’s in North Liberty, located at 415 Community Dr., will open on Oct. 27, and fellow district manager, Oliver Owen wants to deliver quality food and a great experience from the moment those doors are opened.
“We start very early with training our employees. The level of service and the quality of product we expect makes a huge difference,” Owen said. “It’s hard to compare to the other places.”
The partnership between Marco’s and Family Video began in 2012 after Family Video President Keith Hoogland noticed that many pizzerias would open next to his video stores. Many of his customers would pick their movie from Family Video, than grab something to eat next door.
Hoogland saw this as an opportunity for one of the few thriving movie rental companies in the nation. After researching restaurants extensively, he found Marco’s, another family-owned company, and began opening up franchises across the country.
Now, there are over 100 joint Marco’s Pizza and Family Video locations around the country, making it the fastest growing pizza place in the United States.
This is the third store opening of which Shepherd has been a part, and he feels the company’s growth is just getting started. The reason for that is right in the video store’s name.
“We’re a very family-orientated company,” she said. “We’re always thinking ‘what can we do for our families?’”
Shepherd’s own family of three hungry boys has quickly become a Marco’s Pizza family as well.
“It doesn’t matter where I’m working. I could be in Galesburg and they’ll call me from the Quad Cities and say ‘can you pick us up a pizza?’” Shepherd said. “They just love it.”
Marco’s makes a commitment to treat the communities they operate in as family, too. The restaurant often invites the public to come see how its pizzas are made and has played host to many school field trips. The company even lets students decorate their own pizza boxes and offers special promotions to schools and other organizations.
But, Owen said, it isn’t just level of service and atmosphere that makes Marco’s such a great place to grab a bite; it’s the quality ingredients and attention to detail. Unlike many delivery and carry out pizza places, the dough is made fresh daily in the restaurant’s large and open kitchen.
Marco’s cooks prepare the dough a day before it’s actually used, mixing all ingredients in a large stand mixer, portioning the dough, then letting it sit in the freezer overnight. The next day it’s ready to take on Marco’s extensive topping options. After that, all that’s left is for the pizza to cook for about six minutes and it’s ready to be delivered.
And if a pie doesn’t look perfect once it’s finished, it’s scrapped and a new one is made.
“It’s all about quality,” Owen said. “We don’t send out ugly pizzas. It has to go out looking perfect.”
All that attention to detail doesn’t mean that the restaurant has forgotten about speedy service. Shepherd said that their goal is to have a customer’s pizza delivered in less than 25 minutes.
“If you have a family and you call in a pizza at 6 p.m., you hope to get it in by 6:30 and by 7 p.m., you’re pulling your hair out,” Owen added.
Shepherd and Owen feel the two companies have created a winning recipe for its customers.
“Marco’s and Family Video are just taking it to the next level. They found a great idea, and made it better,” Owen said. “It shouldn’t just be a video store and it shouldn’t just be a pizza place; it should be an entertainment experience.”