STEUBENVILLE - Little Caesars figures to have a local franchise up and operating by the third quarter of this year.
Bob Mazziotti, vice president of franchise development, said the company is in the process of finalizing arrangements.
"It's dead certain we're going to be there," he said. "We think we've got the right people, but that's being finalized as we speak. We will be there. Our real estate team is already there, starting to identify opportunities."
Mazziotti said Detroit-based Little Caesars, founded in 1959, chose Steubenville because of "demographics and because of the products that are there today. We think the market is ready for us."
Little Caesars makes its dough daily, from scratch, in store.
"Every store makes its own dough," he said. "We use a blended cheese - mozzarella and muenster - that's fresh, never frozen, and vine-ripened tomatoes from California processed and packaged for us. When you bring that type of quality with a $5 hot-and-ready pizza, it creates quite a demand."
Its stores are carryout only, but that's by design: Considered innovative when the first Little Caesars opened 53 years ago, nowadays sit-down pizza parlors are becoming passe.
"Today, pizza is basically eaten in the home," he said. "People don't go out for pizza like they used to, it's basically a dinner product."
He said there's a strong market for Little Caesars, which owns the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers.
"You have to wow the customer, and you do that with a quality product and a very strong value," he said, adding the typical Little Caesars pizza place takes up about 1,200 to 1,400 square feet.
"We look to locate in shopping centers that have residential retail, maybe a cleaners, a grocery store, a bank. We become part of that retail residential, become part of what the community shops for. ... While people are out and about grabbing their groceries, milk and whatever, they can pick up a pizza on the way home."
He said the Steubenville location "should be open, probably in the third or fourth quarter," he said.
While the chain doesn't talk numbers, he did say Little Caesars has locations worldwide, including Aruba, Canada, Egypt, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Turkey.