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Sunday, May 9, 2021

MOD Pizza opens first Bellingham location

Sitting in her lawn chair with book in hand, Bellingham resident Macie Doane sits quietly and patiently on the sidewalk. She had been sitting for almost two hours, accompanied by dozens of other community members who waited in anticipation for the grand opening of the Barkley Village MOD Pizza Friday, Nov. 11.  

From storefront to the end of the block, people of all ages arrive to attend the pizza shop’s big day. Being the first of its kind in Bellingham, the event drew a large crowd, offering the first 52 customers a free “MOD size” 11-inch pizza during the special occasion.

Karen Miller is an employee at MOD Pizza.

“Everybody is excited, and it’s just a fun environment,” Miller said.

As the doors sprung open, MOD’s staff and kitchen were booming.

The event drew well over 52 people, who seemed very eager to rush inside and experience the pizza craze that has been growing since 2008 when MOD first opened in Seattle.

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Barkley Village MOD Pizza General Manager Zach Zeno cuts a ribbon to open the shop Friday, Nov. 11. // Photo by Alex Powell

Although the pizza occasion was largely centered on the sole purpose of selling delicious food, MOD also partnered with local nonprofit Lydia Place for the special day. MOD donated 100 percent of the opening day’s profits directly to the community-centered group.

Shultzie Willows is the Lydia Place development and outreach director.

MOD focuses on the ripple effect, Willows said. “One person and one act can go on to create a huge, positive change in a community.”

“For [MOD], it’s more than pizza.” Willows said. “It’s about the community they create through their stores.”

Shultzie Willows, Lydia Place development and outreach director

The nonprofit organization, which serves to accommodate the homeless community by providing shelter and supportive services to those in need, assisted MOD’s General Manager Zach Zeno with the ribbon cutting to open the shop.

“We are an organization born from the community, for the community,” Willows said.

The partnership was based on a mutual mission, with both MOD and Lydia Place having a similar vision to support the local community they function from, Willows said.

Barkley Village MOD Pizza employees make pizzas for customers Friday, Nov. 11. // Photo by Alex Powell
Barkley Village MOD Pizza employees make pizzas for customers Friday, Nov. 11. // Photo by Alex Powell

The growing pizza chain is known for their build-it-yourself style, speedy ability to whip out pizzas in a timely manner as well as offering a variety of personal pizza customization.

“It’s nice that you can pile whatever you want on the pizza or take out whatever you want and it’s all just one price,”  Doane said.

For those who have special requests for their pizza, MOD offers several choices for people who have dietary preferences. MOD offers both gluten-free crust as well as vegan-style pizzas for anyone seeking these alternate options.

In addition to the donations MOD produced on their opening day, the shop will also be hosting another community fundraiser during the week of Thanksgiving. For every pizza purchased at any MOD location, $1 from each transaction will go toward a local nonprofit organization. This year, MOD chose Lydia Place as their partner.

“For [MOD], it’s more than pizza.” Willows said. “It’s about the community they create through their stores.”

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