‘We’re not leaving the Quad Cities’ Happy Joe’s CEO reacts to recent closures

Former Happy Joe's building on Rockingham Road in Davenport
Former Happy Joe's building on Rockingham Road in Davenport(kwqc)
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 1:29 AM CDT
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QUAD CITIES (KWQC) - After recent closures, a beloved Quad Cities pizza and ice cream chain is focused on growth.

In recent weeks, Happy Joe’s closed its company locations on Rockingham Road in Davenport and Eldridge. CEO and President, Tom Sacco said it was a business decision.

“You get paid to make those difficult decisions,” Sacco said. “We’re not leaving the Quad Cities. The Quad Cities is home.”

Sacco took over the company nearly two years ago. The closing of the two company stores came at a difficult time for the restaurant Industry.

“I was brought here to grow the company, but to grow profitably,” Sacco said. “I want to make sure that we do the company justice, but stay true to the legacy that Joe Whitty created, right? Quality food [and] always be involved in your community.”

Employees at both locations were offered jobs at their next closest locations in Davenport.

According to Sacco, the Maquoketa franchise closure was a result of unrelated, external factors with the owners.

Now, Sacco is shifting his efforts toward more profitable franchises.

“My job is to be the overseer of the brand,” Sacco said. “My job is to talk to the franchisees, keep the morale up during these difficult times.”

The franchisee in LeClaire, Rich Henning, said Sacco’s tenure with the company has him feeling hopeful for the brand once again.

“For the first time in a long time, we’ve got someone out there that’s looking out for my best interest, instead of just how to make money for themselves,” Henning said. “They’re helping everybody else make money.”

In recent months, Happy Joe’s signed franchise agreements in domestic markets like St. Louis, Missouri, and Mesa, Arizona.

Meanwhile, Sacco said the brand is thriving in the middle east because of its target demographic.

“It doesn’t matter where in the world children are. Children are the innocent, common denominator,” Sacco said. “Why would we not put it in other countries where the children have less of an opportunity to be exposed to this? it’s pretty special.”

Overseas the company anticipates opening four more franchise locations in Egypt by the end of the year.