Pizza Hut on Putney Road. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)
Pizza Hut on Putney Road. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)
Friday January 18, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- The sluggish economy and loss of a lease has forced the closure of the Pizza Hut just off Exit 3, according to a franchisee of the global restaurant giant.

Paul Hanson, director of marketing for Capital Pizza Huts, said the Brattleboro location was not making enough dough to keep the doors open any longer and Tuesday served as its final day of operation. He said 15 people worked at the restaurant, which opened at 1154 Putney Road 25 years ago.

"You want to see it work because Brattleboro is just such a great community, but the economics just didn't work to keep the restaurant open," he said from his company's Wichita, Kan., headquarters.

Hansen could not disclose finances but said the Brattleboro franchise had been struggling for some time. He said the finances of each franchise are reviewed every year. He also said it recently lost its lease but he did not know who the leaseholder was.

"Obviously, we want to keep every location profitable," Hansen said.

He said there is no truth to the rumors that the Brattleboro restaurant closed due to health or cleanliness complaints.

Hansen said it is heartbreaking to have to lay off any workers, as some of been employed by Pizza Hut for decades.

"We have a lot of long-time employees," he said. "It really is like a gigantic family."

He said general manager Andy Fredette and area supervisor/district manager Scott Kyle have handled their jobs fantastically. Kyle said he now has five restaurants in his district.

Hansen said Capital Pizza Huts franchises 90 locations throughout the United States and there are more than 6,000 around the world. He said there are now eight in Vermont and 28 in New Hampshire.

The nearest Pizza Hut restaurant to Brattleboro is at 333 Winchester St. in Keene, N.H. Hansen said that location is doing well because of its proximity to Keene State College and the area's ski culture.

"We're very excited about our Keene location," he said, adding that it gets involved with community events such as the annual pumpkin festival. "Keene has a lot of opportunity for growth."

He also said Pizza Huts have more success in New Hampshire because the state has more metropolitan areas than Vermont.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.