By Michael Buhler
Sometimes the best thing to do is to be in the right place at the right time.
Just ask Dan and Becky Norton, who took the reins of Gambino’s Pizza in Conway Springs in September 2012 and are in the process of officially purchasing it.
Becky had worked for Gambino’s corporate offices for three years when her boss bought the Gambino’s in Conway Springs from former owners Jerry and Joyce Clement.
“My boss was running it and didn’t really have time to devote the attention he needed to it,” Becky said. “We have always been interested in owning a Gambino’s, so it just kind of worked out for us. It’s in Conway Springs and we live in Goddard, so it’s pretty close.”
Dan echoes his wife’s sentiments.
“We were in the right place at the right time,” Dan said. “He needed to find a buyer for it and we were interested. We had several meetings talking about it and we started running the place six months ago for him. We’ve helped get some things accomplished down there in that six-month span while we are figuring out the ins and outs and getting all of the final paperwork done with the bank in order to take over. We’re super-excited about it and looking forward to it.”
It helps that the Nortons and their staff get along well.
“We’re very family-oriented,” Dan said. “The staff is like our second family now. We keep in constant communication, go down there frequently and help out where we can.”
Maybe that is why the Nortons do not plan to make any changes to the current staff at Gambino’s Pizza.
“We don’t have any intention of coming down there and getting rid of any jobs so we can actually work there,” Dan said. “We just want to oversee everything. We’ve got great people in place right now that are managing it for us, so we want to continue to support them and let them do what they’ve been doing – and been doing a great job of.”
The Nortons have plans for the future of Gambino’s in Conway Springs. For one, they want to do some upgrades and eventually a remodel. They plan to start with essentials, such as equipment upgrades, new carpet and new tile, but ultimately want to remodel the restaurant to make it more inviting inside.
“We want to bring some televisions in there to help encourage people to dine in and sit and enjoy a game while they eat,” Dan said. The Nortons also want to add a kids menu, add a pair of digital menu boards and even sell ice cream.
“We want to bring it up to speed with a lot of the Gambino’s that are around and the things that they’re doing,” Dan said.
With family so important to the Nortons, it should be no surprise that community is important to them as well.
“We also plan on being a very big part of the community and helping out with school fundraisers, or anything we can do to help the community out,” Dan said. “We plan on being a part of the Fall Fest and serving pizzas down there. Any school programs – sports, music, etc. – that need to do some fundraisers, we’re all about helping out the community.”