Hillside Pizza closes Hadley location, but business brisk at other locations

Craig White of Hillside Pizza in Bernardston with Lt. Paul Leslie of the Greenfield Salvation Army and his daughter Abigail with donated pizzas for community meals.

Craig White of Hillside Pizza in Bernardston with Lt. Paul Leslie of the Greenfield Salvation Army and his daughter Abigail with donated pizzas for community meals. CONTRIBUTED/HILLSIDE PIZZA

Abby Wozniak, her sister Amber Wozniak, Amy White and Vanessa Crowningshield of Hillside Pizza in Bernardston have been serving community meals and are asking for donations.

Abby Wozniak, her sister Amber Wozniak, Amy White and Vanessa Crowningshield of Hillside Pizza in Bernardston have been serving community meals and are asking for donations. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Craig White of Hillside Pizza in Bernardston.

Craig White of Hillside Pizza in Bernardston. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Hillside Pizza in Bernardston.

Hillside Pizza in Bernardston. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Amy and Craig White of Hillside Pizza in Bernardston. The couple also own the Hillside Pizza location in South Deerfield and recently closed their Hadley location.

Amy and Craig White of Hillside Pizza in Bernardston. The couple also own the Hillside Pizza location in South Deerfield and recently closed their Hadley location. CONTRIBUTED/HILLSIDE PIZZA

Millie Jacoby with a personal pizza at the Deerfield location of Hillside Pizza at the Yankee Candle store.

Millie Jacoby with a personal pizza at the Deerfield location of Hillside Pizza at the Yankee Candle store. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By GRACE LEE

For the Gazette

Published: 03-03-2024 1:50 PM

HADLEY — Hillside Pizza has closed its 15-year-old location at 173 Russell St., though owners report that the Super Bowl marked a record-breaking year in sales and fundraising efforts for the other two locations in South Deerfield and Bernardston.

With employee shortages and rising supply costs, many restaurants have struggled to navigate the post-pandemic labor market, said Amy White, co-owner and co-founder of Hillside Pizza. Ongoing construction on Route 9 and staffing issues “made it challenging [to keep the Hadley branch] and so we just consolidated,” White said.

But closing one storefront has not negatively impacted or forced owners White and her husband, Craig, to change any other aspect of their business at the other two branches. Any employee from the Hadley branch that wanted to stay on board was transferred to South Deerfield, and White said she’s seen many Hadley customers also make the switch over.

Hillside Pizza has also been able to continue the programs it runs alongside its storefront businesses, such as school fundraising efforts and the philanthropic community meals program through the Greenfield Salvation Army.

Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the Whites have donated catered meals each week to support residents who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. They recently hit a milestone of 25,000 meals donated.

“That [number] was never in our sights at the beginning,” White said. “We’re providing dignity … as well as just food itself, and that’s really important to us.”

White mentioned a recently launched fundraising campaign through Fundly to help continue the weekly tradition of donated meals, which can cost an average of $3 per plate. The campaign can be viewed at fundly.com/hillside-pizza-meals-for-neighbors.

“We can’t do it alone, and so we really need help to run the race,” which is the mission of the campaign, White said.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

State auditor: UMass violated law in axing Advancement office last year
Valley Bounty: Fibers for farmers: Western Massachusetts Fibershed turns local ‘throw away’ wool into fertilizer pellets
Budget rift emerges at Granby TM: Finance Committee at odds with School, Fire departments
With NCAA settlement, sea change comingfor UMass athletics
Judge denies Rintala’s motion to reduce prison sentence
More music, bigger stages: In new hands, Green River Festival returns next weekend with headliners CAKE, Fleet Foxes and Gregory Alan Isakov

Founded in 2001, Hillside Pizza began as a food catering business through which kids could raise money for their schools. After 23 years, Hillside has retained this aspect of its business, and had its most successful fundraising year with the conclusion of the 2024 Super Bowl.

“Let’s say the French club is going on a trip,” White gave an example of their fundraising structure. “We will sell out pizzas and then offer a much greater [profit] margin than most other fundraising programs out there.

JFK Middle School of Northampton might typically sell around 150 orders of pizza or cookie dough every Super Bowl. But this year, according to White, they sold 760.

White also briefly noted the rise in supply and ingredient prices, which has caused Hillside Pizza to increase its prices slightly.

“We haven’t changed the quality of our ingredients,” White said, “and we won’t.”