A local all-you-can-eat buffet pizza shop went out of business Friday night, the probable victim of a slow economy, according to its manager.
Elliot Hall, the manager at CiCi's Pizza in the Wal-Mart Plaza said Saturday, "The economy doesn't help."
But, Hall, who said he enjoys working for CiCi's, said he had no idea that the Altoona franchise at 2728 Plank Road was earmarked for closure.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Chailil Thompson of Duncansville had only been working at CiCi’s Pizza for a few weeks when the restaurant suddenly closed Friday evening.
The regional manager came into the business at about 8 p.m. Friday and asked the customers to leave.
At that point, the business was closed.
Hall and his employees worked most of the night, he said, moving equipment and cleaning up the shop.
On Saturday afternoon he was waiting for vendors to come and take their machines from the building.
One of the employees who came to work Saturday was Hollidaysburg Area High School senior Chailil Thompson of Duncansville.
He has been a part-time employee at CiCi's for the past three or four weeks, he said.
Thompson served as a busboy and dish washer.
The sudden shutting of the doors came as a surprise to him because, as he said, "We were busy last night."
He came back to the shop Saturday to help with the cleanup process.
Hall said that he has been managing CiCi's pizza shops for the past eight years, including one in Pittsburgh, State College and Altoona.
He has been at the Altoona restaurant for about a year.
CiCi's is a unique restaurant, offering a buffet that includes pizza, pasta, salad, soups and desserts for about $5.
The company is owned by investors that make up the Kolander Group of Allen, Texas.
Nobody was available Saturday at Kolander to discuss the closing of the Altoona facility.
According to the company's history, CiCi's began in Plano, Texas, in 1985.
It has 600 restaurants in 36 states and was planning to continue its expansion, nearly doubling that number in a few years.
Most of the Pennsylvania franchises are in western Pennsylvania.
Hall put a bright side for him on the closing of the Altoona restaurant, stating, "I've got a little girl. I'll get to spend the summer with her."
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.