In 1995 (25 years ago this week), James Buck and his wife Leslie embarked on a mission. They started LaPorte’s only pizza restaurant — LaPorte Pizza.
Today, it’s still the only pizza restaurant in LaPorte. And they serve more than pizzas.
James starts every day by making fresh dough, used for pizzas, calzones, sub sandwiches, and a special Kraut Burger on Wednesdays.
James works 60-70 hour work weeks. His hard work isn’t just for the business; it’s part of his passion for having LaPorte Pizza be more than just a place to eat great food. He is proud to help the community. “I figure that I’ve had probably 300 employees over the 25 years,” James said. “Some of the kids are principles now, airplane pilots, one is a US Air Force Pilot, and another is an ESPN cameraman. They come back to see me,” he said.
James has been running pizza businesses for 30 years. And he is friends with many of the other pizza restaurant owners around Northern Colorado. In fact, he’s a mentor. He wants them to be successful.
James estimates he has served an average of 300 pizzas per week during his 25 years in business — that’s 390,000 pizzas.
“I’m hiring a second generation of families. The kids of the kids that used to work for me are working for me now. That’s just really rewarding,” James said.
The people who come into LaPorte Pizza know each other. They sit down with each other. It’s a community gathering spot. Many can be seen hanging out for an hour or two.
Even during one of the most economically challenging times in history over the past few months, James has been able to retain his staff. He has actually hired more. “I’m pretty proud of that,” he said. “We were able to keep going.”
James prides himself on not only hiring kids but their moms and dads too. He has hired people from all walks of life. “If I can touch them in a way that they can have a better life, that’s what I’m here for,” he said.
LaPorte Pizza has become not only a great hangout for people in LaPorte but a community staple.
As for James, he hopes to retire in about seven years. When he does retire, he says LaPorte Pizza will continue on as a LaPorte legacy for 25 more years — perhaps even beyond.