Snappy Tomato Pizza to have new owner

Michael Monks
Michael Monks
Michael is the chief content officer at LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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Snappy Tomato Pizza has a new owner.

Longtime franchise operator Tim Gayhart announced Tuesday that he is purchasing the locally-based pizza chain from the Deters Company.

Gayhart is the owner of five Snappy locations and served as the area developer for thirteen stores.

“I am excited to begin this new chapter in my career, having started 30-years ago with a loan of $20,000 for my first Snappy franchise to now owning the company, it is truly a blessing to be in this position,”  Gayhart said in an announcement. “The opportunity to do more of what I love to do is the reason I wanted to take a bigger slice of the pizza pie.”

Gayhart is a Cincinnati native who now lives in Union. He opened his first Snappy franchise in 1991 and became an area developer for the chain in 2001. His purchase of the business from the Deters Company is in progress. No financial details were provided.

Gayhart’s stores are located in Villa Hills, Richwood, Dry Ridge and Lawrenceburg and Rising Sun, Indiana. With his purchase of the company, he will also take ownership of the Burlington flagship store.

Snappy has 44 locations, mostly in Kentucky, along with a handful in Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee, and one in New Mexico.

Gayhart will provide overall support, guidance and resources for all current locations and will also soon see the first new franchise of his tenure, now under contract to open in LaGrange in the fall. 

Tim Gayhart (provided)

“Having worked with Tim for more than thirty-years, I instantly knew that the very moment he expressed interest in buying the company, it was a great fit,” said Jeremy Deters, president of the Deters Company. “Tim knows the pizza business and this company inside and out; I am excited to see where he takes Snappy, because with Tim’s passion and commitment, the sky’s the limit.”

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The Snappy Tomato Pizza corporate headquarters will remain in Burlington alongside the flagship store location. The corporate staff, over 900 current employees, management and thirty-one franchisees throughout the country will remain intact during the ownership transition, the announcement said.

Gayhart also said that he hopes to see the company’s footprint continue to grow. 

“We hope to grow our store count by ten units over the next three years,” said Gayhart. 

Snappy was founded in Fort Mitchell in 1978. According to the company, the name derives from a winning bet at a horse race when a horse named Snappy Tomato crossed the finish line victoriously, giving the chain’s founder, Robert Rotunda, the money he needed to open the first store. Snappy is well known for its super-sized “Beast” pizza.

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