Celebrating 30 years of serving Waynetown

WAYNETOWN — Tony and Linda Arrigo have dedicated their lives to serving Waynetown area residents, but the long-time downtown business owners have decided to retire.

The public is invited to an open house for the couple 1-5 p.m. Sunday at the Waynetown Merchants Building. The Arrigos owned the Waynetown Pizza King, the Waynetown Laundromat and the Cracker Barrel Cafe for 26 years. They also owned Hudson Grocery Store for 17 years.

The decision to retire did not come easily. Both Tony and Linda have health issues and the daily grind of keeping three buisnesses afloat is no longer feasible.

“Physically I know it is time to get out,” Linda said. “But, mentally I am not ready. It is bittersweet.”

Tony’s dedication to the community went beyond the front doors of his businesses. He has been a driving force in the Waynetown Merchants Association and was the ring leader for organizing the Waynetown Fish Fry for many years. He also has volunteered his time and resources to many local events and groups.

Linda, like her husband, has done more than manage the Pizza King. She is in her second term of serving on the Waynetown Town Council.

Their daughter, Angie Arrigo, said closing the businesses she grew up with is emotional for the whole family. It was Angie’s idea to have the celebration for her parents.

“It is a little surreal,” Angie said. “Mom and Dad retiring is for the best, but I have my moments when I really don’t know what to think about it. My son grew up running around the restaurant in his onsie. I am pretty emotional about seeing it all go.”

Sunday’s celebration will also celebrate 50 years of marriage for the Arrigos.

“I am looking forward to the party,” Tony said. “I appreciate the people who supported us. It is just hard for a small town grocery store to make it. I am proud that we were able to do it for 26 years.”

For years the struggle to keep small businesses in a small town have increased. However, the Arrigos never gave up and saw their efforts as a way of keeping downtown Waynetown more active.

After the decision to retire, the Arrigos placed their businesses for sale. The building with three of the businesses, the Pizza King, cafe and laundry mat have been purchased by Brad and Kathryn Eads. The Waynetown residents plan to remodel the Pizza King and re-open at noon June 21. They have already purchased new equipment for the laundry mat and hope to find someone to operate the restaurant.

Linda was happy to sell the businesses to someone living in the same town she has lived in her entire life, and she is looking forward to the planned improvements.

“I know Brad and Kathryn will do a good job,” Linda said. “It is a relief to know the Pizza King and cafe are going to still be open.”

Linda said the search continues for someone to purchase the grocery store.