According to a report from in Roanoke, “For many years, the dominant pizza franchises have turned away from Lake Gaston, saying the area was too seasonal or there were not enough customers to justify the investment of opening a restaurant. Gary and Sue Bardwell have now shown them the errors of their ways.”

The article said, “The Bardwells moved to Lake Gaston from Leesburg, Va., in 2003. Sue found work in South Hill, Va., and Gary worked on The Randy Parton Theatre for a while, but wanted something more.”

The report stated: “He had heard the stories about the lake being unable to support new businesses, but had a gut feeling it could if the right business was brought in, so he searched the Internet for franchises.”

According to the article, “None of the large food franchisers were interested, but Bardwell finally found a Greek family in the Washington, D.C., area who offered a full menu of take-out or delivery-only Greek, Italian and American food, along with pizza.”

The report said, “In the store’s very first week, the new location had broken every record for sales at any of the franchises.”

“We had planned for 30-50 customers a day,” said Bardwell in the article. “We ended up with between 150-200 that week.”

Final first-week figures were 150 percent higher than their most optimistic expectations, according to the article.

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