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A franchise store in the small town of Huntley, Illinois (operated by franchisee Lane Helvie), 55 miles outside of Chicago, is the designated 5,000th Domino's Pizza store in the United States, and will play host today to an event featuring Domino's Chairman and CEO David A. Brandon, an $8,000 contribution to the Huntley Police Officers Benevolent Association, and of course, free pizza.
A franchise store in Panama City, the bustling capital of Panama in Central America (operated by master franchisee Michael Berkman and Grupo BGM), is the site of Domino's 3,000th international store. Fireworks and a visit by Panama's First Lady, Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos, will mark the beginning of a three-week program called "Gracias, Panama," in which the Domino's Pizza franchise plans to donate 8,000 pizzas to local charities (selected by Mrs. Torrijos), hospitals, schools, police and fire departments, and other community groups.
"Since joining Domino's Pizza in 1999, I have had the pleasure of celebrating many milestone store openings in countries around the world, as well as the opening of our global brand's 7,000th and now 8,000th store," said Mr. Brandon. "Events like this give us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the great work of our franchise owner-operators, store managers and team members in more than 50 countries. Each night, they go to work, safely delivering hot, fresh pizza to millions of families the world over. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to 'clip the ribbon' on our system's 9,000th and 10,000th store in the future."
Domino's Pizza, which celebrated its 45th anniversary in December 2005, opened its 5,000th unit worldwide in 1989 and its 6,000th store in 1997. The company's founder, Thomas Monaghan, sold the company in late 1998. Since 1999, under the leadership of Mr. Brandon, store growth has accelerated, and Domino's Pizza has opened an average of 240 stores annually in the past five years.
"Pizza is loved throughout the world," Mr. Brandon said. "One of the great attributes of pizza is its flexibility -- while the core of dough, sauce and cheese are the same, toppings can be adapted to local market tastes. It's a great value for those times when you want to 'indulge' and when you are feeding a lot of people. Adding Domino's expertise in delivery is one of our key differentiators -- one of those things that adds to our success on a global scale. From small towns like Huntley, to a thriving urban center like Panama City, Domino's Pizza delivers everywhere."
The Huntley, Illinois, store is the third for franchisee Lane Helvie, who opened his first store in 1997 in Wood Dale, IL. Helvie and his wife, Laura, operate the franchise together.
The Panama City store is the seventh store in Panama. The franchise was recently purchased by Grupo BGM, a restaurant operation based in Mexico, where it operated Domino's Pizza stores and currently operates a number of high-end sit down restaurants. Grupo BGM sold its Mexico Domino's Pizza stores to Domino's master franchise, Alsea, and purchased rights to the Panama market in 2004.