Donald Snider has an intriguing resume. He owned five Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises in Illinois and Georgia from 1986 to 1989, sold them to move back home to Detroit to raise his two children as a single parent, and took a series of jobs that ran the gamut from registering people to vote and working at a gas station to teaching science at the Detroit College of Business and founding a company that sold paper products to automotive giants like Chrysler. Somewhere in there he found the time to write and publish a self-help book called Beyond the Bling: Real Steps to Financial Success. Oh, and he sits on the advisory board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The fifty-seven-year-old Snider has even picked up a few awards along the way, including the Black Enterprise Small Business Award for Business Innovator of the Year in 1999.
Now he’s added Papa John’s Pizza franchisee to his resume. When he got out of the paper business a year ago–“because Chrysler stopped paying me”–Snider started looking around for another business opportunity. “It could have been selling walnuts, paper clips, whatever had positive cash flow.” But he happened to know the owners of the Papa John’s franchise at the corner of Huron and Division, and last winter he decided to buy it. It did so well he opened a second Papa John’s in early August on Washtenaw a quarter mile east of Carpenter Road.
Papa John’s specializes in specialty pizzas, including spinach alfredo, smokehouse bacon and ham, and the “Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu.” Prices range from $9 to $15 depending on the size, and additional toppings are extra. It also has smaller fare like Buffalo wings, chicken strips, and garlic parmesan breadsticks. It’s takeout or delivery only.
Snider went full out to let everyone know there was a new Papa John’s in town, personally plastering the surrounding area with flyers. “I hand-delivered [the flyers] to auto dealerships, car repair guys, Discount Tire, offices–anything to spread the word.”
Papa John’s Pizza, 4559 Washtenaw. 975-7272. Daily 10:30 a.m.-midnight. papajohnsonline.com