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By Amber Hayden
DOWNING — For the Blaser brothers, the choice to move the headquarters for Brothers Pizza closer to home was not a difficult decision according to Rick Blaser.
Brothers Pizza was named for the four brothers, Bryan, Mike, Rick, and Jon.
“Mike passed in 2005, and he is the driving force behind our endeavors and the naming of the company as ‘Brothers’,” said Rick. “He is thought about daily around here!”
The Blasers have recently moved the main headquarters from the building in Turtle Lake, which was purchased by Kwik Trip and torn down, to a building in Downing on Highway 170.
“It’s closer for us to be able to manage the whole business and the production side,” Rick said. “We wanted to get things closer to home, that way it was less traveling and we had the building space.”
Brothers Pizza first began when they were selling slices of pizza at the gas station, and soon decided they wanted to be able to provide pizzas for more than just their local residents.
“My dad, Wayne, is a go-getter, he said if they like them here, let’s make them for everybody,” Rick said. “So he started the business and getting them out to people.”
The main office had been in Turtle Lake for the last four years, but the building was sold and everything was relocated to Downing.
Before the pizza production could begin in Downing, the inside of the building had to be closed off and all four walls required a material that could be washed down and sanitized at all times.
The Blasers other business, Global Genetics Resources LLC, was moved across the street to the brown shed in order to make room for offices and equipment needed for inventory and supplies.
“The building was originally for Global Genetics and it had the offices and supplies for that in here,” Rick explained.
Rick spends three days a week working with the production crew, which is any where from three to six people during the day on a rotating schedule, and letting them know which pizzas to make that day, keep track of inventory, and quality control. The rest of his time is spent across the street at Global Genetics Resources.
The production employees are on a rotating schedule, according to Rick, with the longest part of the process being the wrapping of each pizza individually in plastic wrap.
Brothers Pizza makes 18 different pizzas, but their most popular ones are pepperoni, pepperoni and sausage, four meat and bacon cheeseburger. A list of their pizzas can be found on their Facebook page for Brothers Pizza.
The only machine that is inside the production area is the wrapping machine, as the pizzas are all handmade.
“We want the last bite to be the same as the first bite,” Rick stated. “We try to have the ingredients evenly disbursed, and we use the top products.”
With the Safer at Home order it has kept the business busy, according to Rick, as pizza is an easy fix for a meal.
Brothers Pizza is making pizzas as the orders are coming in, with shipments going out daily and Bryan traveling different routes each day.
“We can go anywhere in the U.S.,” Rick explained. “But we haven’t done much of it because of time.”
Downing and Nye are the remaining two fully functional c-stores with full menus for Brothers.
The family also owns and sells Nor-V-Gen leather care oil.
“We try to diversify and keep everybody busy, and give them opportunities,” said Rick in regards to the businesses owned and operated by the Blasers.
The Blasers bought Blaser Farms, located north of Downing on County Road Q, in 1989 after relocating from Iowa, but as of September were no longer running it as a dairy farm.
Rick and his brothers with the help of their dad work together at Brothers Pizza, with Jon and Wayne focusing on the c-stores, while Bryan is the dedicated salesman for the company.
Bryan travels as far north as Ashland and south east to Green Bay, to keep the business going to nearly 300 stores that carry the pizzas.
Bryan’s son Brett also works for Brothers pizza and is there daily to help.
The brothers’ mother, Mary, has worked for the Glenwood City School District for nearly 30 years and will retire at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
Blaser Family Farms also offers several varieties of beef jerky, beef sticks, and summer sausage that can be purchased at the Downing location, according to their Facebook page.