The keys to success in the restaurant business are good-quality food made with fresh ingredients and top-notch customer service.
These two maxims have carried Elkins businessman Frank Santmyer a long way. So much so, that he is celebrating 40 years of service to community at his Gino's Pizza location on Davis Avenue.
Santmyer will commemorate the milestone on Wednesday with several specials, including half-price pizza, buy one sandwich get a second half off, spaghetti (with meat sauce or meatballs) for four for $13 and half-price bread sticks.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Matthew Burdette
Gino’s Pizza owner Frank Santmyer says the keys to success are high-quality food made with fresh ingredients and good customer service.
"Forty years as one owner is a long time to be in business," Santmyer said. "I've seen them (other businesses) come, and I've seen them go."
"We make everything fresh, every day," Santmyer added. "What makes the business succeed is quality food and good employees. Employees really are the key, and it's how they treat the customer. The customer is always right."
Santmyer opened the restaurant in 1973, and uses much of the same equipment he did all those years ago. The ovens are the same, and most of the recipes are, too.
Some of the most popular items on the Gino's menu are the eatery's large variety of sandwiches. Santmyer says the secret to his sandwiches is the buns. The pizza house uses high-quality, Pepperidge Farm bread, which gives his product that extra kick of flavor.
"The reason for our success is that you give what you receive," Santmyer said. "We help to donate to local kid's organizations. Back in the '70s, we served pizza breads in the high school every day so they could raise funds. The youth sports kids also use our pizzas to raise money."
"Gino's is the place where most of the high school kids get their first job," Santmyer added. "Customers come in or call an order in and the people at the counter already know what they want, because they frequent Gino's so often. We have a lot of repeat customers."
One of the things Santmyer is most proud of is that he's an Elkins native that returned to make the area a better place.
Santmyer grew up on Henry Avenue, and sold Inter-Mountains newspapers in his youth before moving to Huntington for a time. He returned, though, to keep a close eye on the Gino's store and has made a true difference in the community. He has been on the Mountain State Forest Festival Board, and has served a turn as the director general and president of the festival board, among many other community projects and positions.
"Gino's is the first place people stop when they come back to town," Santmyer said. "That says a lot about the business and the quality. We really couldn't have done this without the customers, the employees and the community. That's what makes this such a special place."
- Contact Matthew Burdette at 304-636-2121, ext. 120 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at IMT_Burdette.