NEW DETAILS: LaRosa’s speaks out on restaurant closing, Dayton market

LaRosa's Pizzeria recently closed a Dayton-area restaurant that had operated for 14 years in Beavercreek. It's the second such closing of a suburban Dayton LaRosa's in the last 18 months — and it comes less than four months after another pizza restaurant, Papa Murphy's, closed its Beavercreek location.

But a spokesman for LaRosa’s told this news outlet in a phone interview that the Cincinnati-based chain remains “committed” to LaRosa’s three remaining Dayton-area restaurants are located: Kettering, Centerville and Englewood.

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“LaRosa’s likes to serve those neighborhoods,” said Pete Buscani, executive vice president of marketing for LaRosa’s.

The Beavercreek location shut down after the close of business on Friday, March 23.

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“We could not really get consistent sales there,” despite a 14-year effort, Buscani said. Shutting down the store will allow the pizza chain to “double down” on focusing resources on the remaining three locations, he said.

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The Dayton region’s pizza market has long been dominated by venerable hometown chains such as Cassano’s Pizza King and Marion’s Piazza; by national chains such as Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesar’s and Papa John’s; and by the dozens of smaller chains and single-store independents that call the Miami Valley home.

In recent years, however, other smaller, mostly regional chains have invaded those established market players’ turf. LaRosa’s — which operates 65 pizzerias in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee — was one of those regional chains, along with Godfather’s, Dewey’s and Jet’s, among others.

>> RELATED: LaRosa’s in Huber Heights shuts its doors (November 2016)

More recently, “fast-casual” pizza chains that focus on customized orders that are cooked in three minutes have added a new layer of competition. Kettering-based Rapid Fired Pizza has led that surge locally, and Seattle-based MOD Pizza operates two Dayton-area restaurants. A third competitor, Cleveland-based PizzaFire shut down its only Dayton-area location late last year.

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LaRosa’s was founded in 1954 on Cincinnati’s West Side by Buddy LaRosa. It operates more than 60 pizzerias in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.

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