The long-lived Pizza Pro at 1201 W. Dickinson has concluded its 17 years of fresh pizza, and held its final day of business on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017.
Owners Gerardo and Darrla Pules opened the red and green building as Pizza Pro back in March of 2000. 17 years later, the Pules family decided it was finally time to pull the plug on the beloved community restaurant.
Making the announcement on Wednesday, Aug. 16 via Facebook, owner and manager Gerardo Pules wrote, “Tomorrow we will open one last night until we run out of product. We cannot express enough how thankful we are to the community of Fort Stockton. We have made many memories! Thank you to past and present employees for the time you dedicated to our business and for continued support through the years.”
Today, Pules has spent his first week away from Pizza Pro, and gives the low-down on why he and his wife have decided to hit the eject button.
“The last 17 years at Pizza Pro have been fantastic. We had some great kids, who were great workers. They were like family to us. They were like my own kids. But, after so many years, I was getting tired,” revealed Pules.
“I finally decided to go full time with the Postal Service and let go of Pizza Pro, instead of juggling both and burning myself out. My wife Darrla also took on a full time job, so it’s just a new chapter of life for us both… We wanted to keep Pizza Pro going, but couldn’t find the right person to continue the business for us,” he said.
Pausing for a moment, Pules composed his thoughts, and then continued, “Fort Stockton is a small town, so I just want to clarify one thing before any rumors start going around. Nobody shut us down – I shut myself down. Looking back on our 17 years with Pizza Pro, we had a great run and we ended it on a good note. It was a good time for us to close, so we did.”
On what he is going to miss most about Pizza Pro, Pules said, “Just the people in general. I’m going to miss our loyal customers. We had customers from Chicago that would always tell us, ‘Pizza Pro is the closest thing to Chicago style pizza, if not better,’ and they’d actually come back to town for it. When a pizza can bring travelers back to Fort Stockton, then that speaks volumes about the pizza. It was good stuff.”
Reminiscing on the good times, Pules added, “I’m also going to miss the Presbyterian Youth Group lunches. We held luncheons for them every Thursday during the school year. It started off with only three or four pizzas, and one time we made up to thirty pizzas. We started it off with about ten kids, and then our biggest attendance was over 100 kids. I’ll miss doing that. That was a kick. I’d like to thank them for holding their luncheons with us for so many years.”
Looking toward his life after Pizza Pro, Pules said, “I will finally be able to go to the Panther games. I’m a die-hard fan of the Panthers. This will the first time in 17 years that I get to go sit in the bleachers and watch an actual Panthers game. That’s what I’m looking forward to most.”