GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A fastest pizza making contest on Thursday embodied everything Gulfport-based RPM Pizza holds dear: Never stop striving to improve. Never sacrifice quality.
On Thursday, the chain celebrated 35 years in business.
"Our goal is to be number one, and the number one pizza company in the world. It starts with our innovation and technology, and our drive to just be the best at everything we do," said Vice President of Operations John Richards
Brothers Glenn and Richard Mueller opened the franchise decades ago, though Richard has since retired.
"The first year we built 14 stores, then next year we built 34," said Richard. "It grew very, very quickly and by 1986 we were over 150 stores."
Thirty-five years later, RPM employs 4,000 people in more than seven states. Owners credit their success to staying in tune with customer needs, giving back to the community, and building a good team with employees who are well trained and have opportunities for advancement.
"Ninety percent of our managers started out answering the phones - part time, driving - then falling in love with the company," said Glen, who is the president of RPM. "All of a sudden becoming a manager, then going out and becoming a supervisor. Going out and franchise. We've helped over 150 people franchise, many here from the Coast."
RPM is also looking forward to writing the next chapter.
"You're either getting better or you're getting worse. Domino's just continues to get better year, after year, after year," said Richard. "I love seeing the 35. I can't wait to see 40, 45 and 50."
The winner of the pizza making contest went home with $1,000 and moves on to the next round of the national competition.