But years of financial struggle have forced Klinzing to close Shakey’s Pizza & Buffet Restaurant, which has been an institution for its Mojo-loving customers since it opened at 2419 Morse Street in Janesville in 1972.
Shakey’s will close for good at 9 p.m., Sunday.
Shakey’s employees learned Thursday of Klinzing’s decision—one she’s been struggling with for three years.
“We’ve had such wonderful employees and customers,” she said. “I just hate disrupting their lives.
“… But we just couldn’t make it anymore. There are so many new places opening up, and the pie is getting smaller and smaller. Things were getting tighter and tighter.”
The Janesville stored owned by the Klinzing family is one of two Shakey’s franchises in Wisconsin. The other is in West Allis.
Klinzing said the building and property would be put up for sale. She has no idea what might go into location.
In 2004, California-based Jacmar Cos. formed Shakey’s USA to buy the assets of Shakey’s Pizza from the Singapore-based Inno-Pacific Holdings.
Founded in 1954, Shakey’s used to be a 500-unit chain, but the company languished under a series of corporate owners. Franchisees sued Inno-Pacific subsidiary Shakey’s Inc. in 2001, claiming breach of contract for lack of leadership and failure to invest in corporate growth. That lawsuit settled with the sale to Jacmar.
Sherwood “Shakey” Johnson founded Shakey’s in 1954 in Sacramento, Calif. The restaurants have been known for their original thin crust pizza, crispy fried chicken and “Mojo” deep-fried potatoes.
On a national level, Shakey’s is expanding its franchise opportunities. In addition to the stores in Wisconsin, there are 45 stores in California, two in Washington and one each in Arizona and Georgia.