Saturday, January 28, 2023
Jan. 28, 2023

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Vancouver Pizza Company closing doors for good

By , Columbian Innovation Editor

Vancouver Pizza Company, located in Uptown Village, is closing permanently due in part to the financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the owners announced Sunday on Facebook.

Thursday will be the pizzeria’s last day, unless it runs out of ingredients sooner, according to the Facebook post.

“We have fought hard this year, but we just cannot overcome the obstacles that have come our way,” the post from owners Cliff and Karen McMillen reads.

Cliff McMillen, 63, said a number of factors contributed to the business closing, in addition to the pandemic: a beloved employee died last year, the minimum wage increased in January and parking was scarce around the business.

“All of those things contributed,” he said in a phone interview. “COVID was the final nail in the coffin, if you will.”

The company got a Paycheck Protection Program loan, McMillen said, but it burned through it quickly.

A few commenters on the Facebook post mentioned a potential crowdfunding effort to keep the business alive or buy it back. However, McMillen said it’s not an option because the ownership is tied to a bank in Seattle.

“I think it’s very generous,” he said. “With the noncooperation of the bank in Seattle, it’s almost an impossibility.”

Robert & Ann Angelo Rental Properties LLC owns the building that houses Vancouver Pizza Company, according to Clark County property records.

In 2001, Vancouver Pizza Company, then owned by McMillen and another partner, opened a second location in east Vancouver. But it closed down the next year. McMillen’s partner moved on shortly after.

In 2006, the building in Uptown Village caught fire after a stack of towels spontaneously burst into flames, causing about $100,000 worth of damage. The owners reopened shortly after the smoke damage was repaired.

Before buying the pizzeria, McMillen worked in outside sales and heavy-duty truck parts. He was also a mortgage loan officer. McMillen said he is not retiring, but he’s unsure of what industry he’ll seek employment in.

“Karen and myself are very, very appreciative to the city of Vancouver and to our customer base in Vancouver in 28 years,” he said in a phone interview. “They are very, very supportive. We’d also like to compliment staff over the years.”