LIBERTY -- When people move out of this area, many of them comment on how spoiled Mahoning Valley
LIBERTY -- When people move out of this area, many of them comment on how spoiled Mahoning Valley residents are when it comes to the quality and selection of pizza.
Dozens of businesses in the area sell pizza, some with multiple locations, said Mark Campbell, owner of Uptown Pizza. His shop opened for business about 1960 on Market Street, just north of Dewey Avenue.
His wife, Tish, said one of the keys to the shops' success is consistency.
"We still use the original recipes, but we have added to our menu," she said.
Joe and Carmella Marini were the original owners. Their pizza menu was limited to 12-inch and 6-inch pizzas with the smaller one known as Little Joe. They also sold meatball and sausage sandwiches.
There were a couple of tables and chairs in the shop, but most people got their pizza to go.
Changed hands: In 1972, the couple sold the shop, which had been moved to South Avenue near Hilton Avenue, to Dan Hernan. At about the same time, Hernan opened another Uptown Pizza on Belmont Avenue, and Campbell, who was 15 years old, began working at the shop.
Campbell's father, James, along with Richard Pittman, bought the business from Hernan in 1984. In 1985, Campbell's wife, Tish, began working at the shop. In 1989, the South Avenue operation moved to its location on Market Street in Boardman.
In 1998, Pittman died and Campbell's father retired and asked his son to take over the business.
Mrs. Campbell runs the Liberty store and makes the dough and sauce for both locations.
Campbell oversees the Boardman operation.
The couple is considering offering franchises.
The Liberty store has a license to sell beer and has a larger variety of foods than the Boardman store.
"We have customers who have moved out of town and when they are back for a visit they stop in for some pizza," Campbell said. "Every year, one customer orders six half-baked Little Joes to take back to San Francisco." The Campbells start their day at 6 a.m.
"Sometimes we go until 10 p.m., but we try not to have too many of those days," Campbell said.
"Every day is a challenge, and we work really hard," Mrs. Campbell said.