SOUTH DEERFIELD – After 15 years at its location on Highways 5 and 10, Hillside Pizza consolidates its original Deerfield operation into its Yankee Candle location.
Sunday August 22 is the last day of the original location and the scheduled reopening date for the Yankee Candle store is August 27. The remaining Hillside’s Pizza locations in Bernardston and Hadley are not affected by the move.
The consolidation, which was underway before the COVID-19 pandemic, was driven by a desire to save money on the costs associated with operating two restaurants in the same city and a move towards more interior dining areas.
âPaying two rents, two utility bills and everything,â said Bob Lindner, co-owner of Hillside Pizza in a telephone interview. âIt’s just 2 more miles if you’re coming from the north and 2 miles closer if you’re coming from town. â¦ We think this is the right time to take the step.
The original restaurant opened at 265 Greenfield Road (Routes 5 & 10) in 2006 before expanding to a second location in Deerfield inside Yankee Candle in 2019 in partnership with Powder Hollow Brewery, which has took over the old Chandler’s restaurant.
Lindner said Yankee Candle offers a better location due to increased tourist traffic and increased indoor dining capacity – the maximum capacity is 120 at Yankee Candle while the original store capacity is 24. – allows safe consumption in the event of a pandemic.
âIt made sense. The dining features are much better there, âhe said. “It’s a better mousetrap overall.”
There are also outdoor picnic tables and other tables available throughout the Yankee Candle campus.
Lindner said there will be a âslightly different menu,â but other than that, Hillside Pizza’s day-to-day operations will remain the same, with some additional improvements.
âWe have online orders and we get DoorDash,â Lindner said. âEnter the 21st century. “
He added that Yankee Candle, despite being a large company, has accommodated the transition of Hillside Pizza to a larger operation.
âWe’re kinda awesome. We’ve never been in the corporate world, âLindner said. âWorking with Yankee (Candle) presents some challenges, but they’ve been very, very supportive. “
He said the 265 Greenfield Road location is “tired and in need of a lot of work” and the move is “fairly straightforward” as the infrastructure is already in place.
âThis place has been great for us. It was our first restaurant, âLindner said. âTheoretically, since we have already settled there, we could move in the next day. â¦ We will settle in for next Friday (August 27). It’s kind of the target date.
The move to Yankee Candle will also provide a new opportunity for Hillside Pizza to return to its fundraising roots through pizza, he said. The business started in 2001 in the community kitchen of the Greenfield Community Development Corporation.
âThis is our 20th year of fundraising,â Lindner said. âThe thing with Yankee (Candle) is that they have crowds coming from all over the place. â¦ We can fundraise across the region now because of the contacts and connections that can happen.
Lindner said the addition of the nearby Tree House Brewing Brewery and Concert Hall will create a great business opportunity for all of Deerfield.
âIt’s going to be kind of a little brewery lane here,â Lindner said. âIt’s like having a car dealership and then another dealership down the street. It’s good.”
Hillside Pizza’s Facebook ad mentions impending retirement as another motivation for consolidation. Lindner has said he will stop working at some point, but it’s not yet clear when.
âI’m one of them,â Lindner said when asked about retirements at the company. âI will be 65 in January and I still cut peppers. Who knows where this is going to go. I’m not in a big, super rush.