7th Avenue Pizza Sees Business Boom During Pandemic
Amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we have to make the occasional stop at the gas station.
Some people simply fill up and go on their way. But inside every Holiday, you’ll find 7th Avenue Pizza.
“There’s a lot of sausage, a lot of pepperoni, lots of cheese, our special sauce is underneath it all,” said Brown’s Ice Cream Company Vice President Patrick Nelson, while at a Holiday in Maple Grove.
Nelson says that more people are heading to the frozen foods section to buy one of these pizzas, courtesy of a company known mainly for ice cream. Last year the company sold 130,000 pizzas, a 60 percent increase in sales compared to 2019.
Not bad for a product that made its debut 10 years ago when Nelson decided his company needed something to help fill their trucks during winter months when ice cream sales are slower.
“It’s a little surreal. I’m very proud of it,” Nelson said. “Just like anything, nothing’s guaranteed. So you’ve got to go in every day knowing that you’ve got to keep proving it to the person that is putting it on those shelves.”
A Family Business
Before the pizzas make it onto the Holiday shelves, they’re briefly kept in a frozen northeast Minneapolis warehouse.
“It’s colder than it is outside today, which is about -17,” said Matt Nelson, Patrick’s cousin who also serves as vice president.
The company produces seven selections of 7th Avenue Pizza. It delivers about 1,000 cases of pizza a week to places like Holiday, Speedway, and Lunds & Byerlys.
It’s a source of pride for Patrick’s cousin, and fellow vice president, Matt Nelson.
“At the end of it all, it’s a family business. And we do it all for the family,” Matt Nelson said. “And to see something like this sort of take off, only makes our grandfathers and our fathers proud, and that’s what we want.”
The company that debuted in 1963 has a rich history of providing smiles to local ice cream lovers, but when you combine a pandemic with a delicious product that’s easy to make, it’s a recipe for success.
“The grocery store business, I mean, ice cream and pizzas have been right underneath Charmin toilet paper,” said Tim Nelson, a Golden Valley resident who’s the president of Brown’s Ice Cream Company. “I mean, the business has been very good.”
The Nelson family hopes that their recent success with 7th Avenue Pizza will help set them up for years to come.
“I’m confident that once people do try it, they’ll like it and hopefully they buy it again,” Patrick Nelson said.