Steven Jackson, Hungry Howie's president and CEO, says his company "likes to get involved" when moving into a community.
Northville residents Vijay and Nita Patel, owners of the new Hungry Howie's franchise restaurant at Drakeshire Plaza on Grand River in Farmington, have demonstrated that commitment, with a $200 donation to Neighborhood House. The non-profit maintains a food shelf and provides other services for area residents in need.
Neighborhood House board president Alan Maxey expressed appreciation for what he called "a very, very kind donation."
"It's support from the local community that really allows us to do what we do for all our local residents in need," he said during a Tuesday grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration.
The company also supports nonprofits on a national level. Jackson said Hungry Howie's does an annual fundraiser on Oct. 4, "Love, Hope and Pizza", which last year raised $225,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Nita Patel said she has long been interested in owning a business and worked three years for another pizza chain.
"My kids are bigger, and now I feel like I am free," she said in an interview before the ribbon cutting. She did research before choosing the Hungry Howie's franchise, which she said offered her very good training as a franchisee.
Now boasting more than 500 stores in 22 states, Jackson said, the Michigan-based company launched in 1973 with a single shop on Telegraph Rd. in Taylor. The company founder, Jim Hearn, is from Dearborn Heights, and Jackson grew up in Garden City. He said he also has ties to Farmington Hills, having lived at Nine Mile and Halsted Roads 25 years ago. His children attended and his daughters are graduates.
Nita Patel said she expects the restaurant to be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and perhaps until midnight on Fridays.