Ypsilanti Citizen Community Lincoln Schools

Volunteers prepare for Ypsi PRIDE Day
By Mark Tower
May. 13, 2010   ·   7:09 a.m.

Volunteers and W.H. Canon employees plant flowers in Depot Town while Ypsilanti resident Mike Labadie repairs the planter's brick work on Ypsi PRIDE Day last year.

Each year, residents in and around the city of Ypsilanti carry on a tradition started by a group of community members enrolled in a city leadership program, a sort...read more

Bicycles zoom as flowers bloom
By Citizen staff
Apr. 30, 2010   ·   2:11 p.m.

Riders from last year's spring ride come in after a long trip. Bike Ypsi’s 2010 Spring Ride and Festival is from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday at Recreation Park (1015 Congress Street).

The weather has turned, the trees are budding and the flowers are popping out of the ground; time for a cruise through town. But don’t be so quick to hop in the...read more

Sheriff Clayton visits Ypsilanti Township
By Mark Tower
Apr. 29, 2010   ·   12:59 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township resident Kathleen Hanadel takes notes as her and other residents attempt to asses WCSO services Tuesday evening at a community forum held at the township's community center.

About 50 Ypsilanti Township residents gave the Washtenaw County Sheriff Office their input about law enforcement in the community Tuesday evening.

The information...read more

Local photographer raising funds for Ypsi Project exhibit
By Adrienne Ziegler
Apr. 20, 2010   ·   2:20 a.m.

Ypsilanti resident Nicholas Beltsos his grandson Demetrios were photographed by Project Ypsi photographer Erica Hampton during a bike ride she took Monday. A former EMU economics professor, Beltsos and his family moved to Ypsi from Dearborn in 1967.

Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.

Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits...read more

Savoy taking shape as live music venue
By Dan DuChene
Apr. 17, 2010   ·   2:38 p.m.

Local funk band Third Coast Kings play in Ypsilanti's newest live music venue, Savoy, Friday night.

Ypsilanti's newest concert venue is preparing for its grand opening weekend April 23, more than a month after its soft opening March 13.

Formerly Club Divine,...read more

New pizzeria serving jumbo pie

The Johnson family--Chuck, Nicholas, Keely and Dianne--stand with a 24-inch pepperoni pizza cooked Friday at their new Toarmina's store at 301 W. Cross Street. Photo by Dan DuChene

The Johnson family--Chuck, Nicholas, Keely and Dianne--stand with a 24-inch pepperoni pizza cooked Friday at their new Toarmina's store at 301 W. Cross Street.
Dr. Kimberly A. Rice DDS

Ypsilanti family brings new business to pizza landmark

By Dan DuChene
Apr. 11, 2009    ·    2:16 a.m.

Chuck Johnson feels right at home in his new business on West Cross Street.

Along with his wife Dianne, the Willow Run High School graduate opened a Toarmina’s Pizza in Ypsilanti Friday.

The building, on the southwest corner of Adams and Cross streets, has seen several different pizza restaurants since the Monaghan brothers launched what is now Domino’s Pizza from the location nearly 50 years ago.

Johnson said he thinks quality product and name recognition will help keep his business in operation for a long time. Delivering pizza sizes twice as big as competitors, including a 24-inch pie, won’t hurt either.

However, he said it’s a good tasting pizza coupled with customer service that makes or breaks a pizza restaurant.

“We make our own dough,” Johnson said. “We don’t freeze any of the meats.”

Johnson, who’s two children attend Brick Elementary in the Lincoln Consolidated School District, purchased his first pizza restaurant, a Toarmina’s Pizza in Brighton, on the Internet after taking a buyout from the Ford Motor Company in 2007.

Dianne said she was let go from her position at Borders’ corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor during downsizing at the company.

“We never wanted to be in Brighton,” Johnson said. “This fit is perfect.”

Johnson said he is currently selling his Brighton store, and just recently found a buyer. He said the move to Ypsilanti from Brighton is moving quickly.

“Maybe too quickly,” He said. “My sign should be here Saturday.”

Lou Toarmina founded his Westland-based pizza franchise more than 20 years ago. He said there was an Ypsilanti location at the same spot Johnson opened his store at for about five years early on in the company’s history.

“We belong in Ypsilanti,” Toarmina said, referencing a strong student following the company had enjoyed from EMU students.

“We weren’t there that long,” he said. “But, we made a mark.”

To promote his business, Johnson said he has printed 32,000 flyers to distribute in the area, as well as 1,000 magnets.

The company offers pizza as well as sandwiches, salads, chicken wings and other appetizers. Dianne said the delivery area will be quite extensive, though it may take some time to know what the specifics will look like.

There’s a big map on the business’s wall the Johnsons are studying as to pin down who the store will be able to service.

“We’re going to try and do a big area,” Dianne said. “As business picks up we’d like to go wider and wider.”

The Rocket

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