It’s hard to believe it’s been only six years since Jimmy & Joe’s Pizzeria opened at the end of the strip mall at Ray and McClintock.
Actually, it’s hard to believe there was a life without Jimmy & Joes.
Since its opening in 2006, it’s become the social hub of the neighborhood. It started as a popular spot with Corona’s lunch crowd, but since then it’s become so much more.
Now, elementary school kids are growing up on Jimmy & Joe’s pizza. Many teens score their first job there. Little League teams bring their photos to post on the wall. The little pizza place has brought a suburban neighborhood a lot closer together.
So, when a neighborhood needed to grieve, it only made sense for Jimmy & Joes to be there to help.
On June 27, Jimmy & Joes hosted a fundraiser for the Butwin family, who tragically lost their lives earlier this month.
The store donated 30 percent of every purchase to a fund that will help give the Butwins a proper burial in Israel.
“This neighborhood is one big family,” said Jimmy & Joes’ founder Terry Black.
“We don’t know everyone, but when someone in the family is in need, we want to be the ones who help.”
Black, along with his daughter Amy and wife Mary, wanted to open a place that could become the neighborhood pizzeria.
At a time when opening a family-owned business came with its share of challenges, they were one of the few who made it. Black says that since 2006, 13 pizzerias have gone out of business within a three-mile radius of Jimmy & Joes.
However, the Blacks seem keenly aware that they wouldn’t be where they are without the help of the community, and they make it a point to give back any way they can.
Jimmy & Joes hosts six to eight fundraisers a month for sports teams, school organizations and church groups. They have donated around $17,000 to the community annually for the past four years.
“It’s a labor of love,” said Mary Black. “We have been so blessed; we want to give back to everyone who’s made it possible.”
A few years ago, a young student at a local elementary school asked if Black could reward her teacher after a particularly challenging year.
Black gave a $25 gift card to every teacher at the school.
Fundraising has also been a way for the pizzeria to attract customers who either live out of the area or who do not come in very frequently, Black says.
Word of mouth helped pave the way for Jimmy & Joes’ Mesa location that opened in 2010 and is now becoming a pivotal part of that area.
Black says a new Ahwatukee location near Mountain Pointe High School is in the works, with an opening penciled in for November.
Black hopes to continue building the sense of community with each new location.
“It’s the relationships we make that are the most rewarding thing for us,” he said.