Domino’s coming to Ely

Popular pizza franchise eyes downtown location, August start-up

by Tom Coombe
Domino’s Pizza may soon be delivering in Ely, perhaps yet this summer.
The popular national pizza chain is angling to open a location in Ely - presumably in the building that once housed Pizza Hut and most recently was home to Two Gringos.
Domino’s franchisee Duane Carlson confirmed his intentions via email on Thursday.
If all goes as planned, Domino’s pizza and other food items will be available for delivery, takeout and even dine-in during August.
“I have looked at putting a store in Ely for the majority of my career and the right location and opportunity has finally emerged,” said Carlson. “We are excited to begin the process which started with securing a location and informing (Domino’s) of my intent.”
Carlson lives in International Falls and said he’s been making trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for more than 40 years.
The old Pizza Hut building has been vacant for several years and is one of numerous downtown structures owned and renovated by developers John and Tanner Ott.
Ott referred questions on the project to Carlson, who was slated to meet with Domino’s corporate representatives Thursday morning.
“I plan on reaching out to the city administration and appropriate state agencies with respect to investing and building this location and as long as the process moves forward in similar fashion to other store builds, the hopeful time frame for opening is in August some time,” said Carlson.
Carlson said he hopes to hire “between 20 and 30 people with jobs as drivers, cooks and management team,” a task that could be difficult given extreme labor shortages in the service industry.
“We will begin the recruiting and hiring process soon so opening the store will go as smoothly as possible,” said Carlson.
Plans for the Ely Domino’s call for more than delivery, with Carlson indicating “there will also be a dine in component offering the full Domino’s menu and soft drinks. ”
Based in Michigan, Domino’s has been in existence since 1960 and has taken off worldwide, with nearly 18,000 locations in 90 countries.
Within the United States, Domino’s has almost 6,400 stores, with 94 percent franchise-owned.
Current northeastern Minnesota Domino’s locations include Virginia, Hibbing, Grand Rapids and International Falls, as well as the Duluth area.