15 Sep 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by nrg51
Patch Instagram photo by nrg51

'Domino's is the Wal-Mart of Pizza'

Community members speak against the pizza chain that would like to open on Main Street.

'Domino's is the Wal-Mart of Pizza'

Visit Dominos.com and try to order a pizza in Charlestown, and the site will tell you that you can’t.

“We're sorry - we currently don't offer delivery service to the address you entered for online orders,” the site says.

That, said Rob Rivard—the man who would like to bring a Domino’s to —is why he wants to open a location in Charlestown.

Each Domino’s franchise, Rivard explained, has an online delivery map defined and controlled by Domino’s’ corporate headquarters. His franchise has asked for years to have its territory expanded to include Charlestown, but the company won’t do so, he said, unless he opens a location in town.

That corporate rule worried Mal Watlington, one of several residents who spoke against the proposed business at a public hearing Thursday night.

“You are looking at the Wal-Mart of pizza,” Watlington said, “be warned.”

Watlington cast aside assurances from consultant Bill Mohan that the franchise would be locally-controlled and give back to the community.

“In fact, you do not have local control,” Watlington said, pointing to the delivery issue.

The meeting drew approximately 40 members of the community, with a large group offering remarks critical of the plan.

Some worried about the store’s planned location, which they said would lead to double-parking.

Resident Dan Ryan, who declared his clear bias by pointing to his strong personal connections to other pizza restaurants present at the meeting, warned Rivard that national chains have a troubled history in Charlestown.

The block of Main Street where Rivard would like to open a Domino’s, Ryan noted, has seen the death of a Burger King, a McDonalds and a Friendly’s.

“Franchises, for whatever reason, they haven’t worked here,” Ryan said.

The council’s basic services committee did not have enough members present for a vote, but Charlestown Neighborhood Council Chairman Tom Cunha said that he would report the meeting’s discussion to the full council at its next meeting on June 5.

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