Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza, a fast-casual pizza brand based in St. Petersburg, Florida, is set to open its next franchise location in the Nashville area. The brand has quickly expanded following the success of its first franchise location, which opened in Ames, Iowa last Summer.

“We have been very fortunate to partner with smart business professionals who understand the trajectory of our brand, as well as our core values,” said Matt Mongoven, Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza Chief Executive Officer. “We are very careful to select the right franchise partners as well as the markets we are expanding to. We believe we have another perfect match with our new franchise partners, Ken and Amy Melton, and the Nashville area.”

The Meltons, Tennessee natives and longtime Nashville-area residents, were happy with the life they had built together but decided they wanted something more out of their professional lives. The couple explained that the idea of owning a family-oriented business offered them a chance to eventually involve their two young children (Kole, 4; Lyla, 2) and was important to them in deciding their next move.

“Everything changes when you have children,” Ken Melton said. “I have spent 18 years in tech sales and that meant a lot of time on the road, a lot of time away from my wife and kids. Amy and I started discussing the idea of orienting our professional lives around our family, not the other way around, and that was the beginning of a long conversation that eventually led us to Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza.”

Melton says the fast-casual concept resonated with him as he understands the struggle of finding a great meal for a family with a small window of time at a reasonable price. The quality of Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza and its commitment to using only fresh ingredients solidified the deal for Melton.

“I visited the Ames location as the final step in our due diligence process and knew right away we had a match,” Melton shared. “Matt and the rest of the Smokin’ Oak team have been transparent, honest and continue to go above and beyond to make this process easy for us. One example is the 800+ page operations manual they provide on how to develop, open and operate the restaurant.  I have been blown away at how professional and meticulous they are in everything they do.”

The Meltons are currently evaluating locations in Brentwood, Franklin and Murfreesboro and are excited to introduce the unique flavor of Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza and its fresh, never-frozen ingredients to the Nashville area.

“One of the things that absolutely amazed me when I visited the Ames location is that there is no freezer in the store,” Melton said. “So, when we say we only use fresh ingredients, we actually mean it. I’d like to be able to incorporate a farm-to-table element to the restaurant where we can bring in produce from local farmers to use as well.”

When Ken and Amy Melton talk about their business being family-oriented, they mean it. The couple shared they plan on handing the business down to their children but emphasize they will be working right alongside them.

“Oh yeah, we will be putting them to work,” joked Melton. “We want them to be involved in this business with us every step of the way.”

Emerging Concepts, News