50-year-old pizza shop for sale in Yellow Springs: ‘I’m not looking just to get out, I’m trying to pass a torch’

A well-known pizza shop that has been in Yellow Springs for 50 years is seeking new ownership.

“I’m not looking just to get out, I’m trying to pass a torch,” B.J. Walters, the owner of Ha Ha Pizza said.

The pizza shop has been for sale for four to five years, but many people did not know.

“The reason why nobody knew was because I didn’t want anybody to know,” Walters said. “I wanted to choose who the buyer was.”

Walters explained that he wanted somebody local to take over, but after feeling like he had burned through that option, he opened it up to everyone.

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

In recent months, he added a sign to the building that says the business is for sale and who people should call if interested. Walters is working with Brandon Owens, the owner and broker at First Choice Business Brokers, to sell the pizza shop.

Walters took over ownership of the pizza shop in 2005 after working for the previous owner, Larry Lookabaugh, for about eight years. He explained that he is ready to retire and do the things that he hasn’t been able to do over the last 17 years. This includes fishing, traveling and spending more time with his wife and two sons.

The ideal owner “would be a young, ambitious person trying to start a career, looking forward to putting a lot of work and effort into it and reaping the benefits of expanding the business and the value of the business,” Walters said.

Much like himself in the early 2000s.

“It’s more about who you are than money,” Walters added.

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The pizza shop has had several offers, but some have fallen through and others have been denied, he said.

Legend has it Ha Ha Pizza was started around 1971 by Antioch College students or at least by people who lived at Antioch. Walters said the story that he has passed down is the students didn’t want to be serious about it, so they would say “ha ha we’re closed” and hang up on people when they made enough money for the day.

The pizza shop is known for everything being made from scratch, Walters said. The dough is made fresh every morning and the ingredients they use are natural.

“Some of our most recurring customers come in with the strangest toppings because it’s the only place they can get it,” he said. “They love coming back every week.”

Some of the unusual toppings include bananas, falafel, water chestnuts and spinach.

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Ha Ha Pizza currently does not do DoorDash, Grubhub or delivery.

“With just a few tweaks I think they (the future owner) could easily triple or even quadruple the value of the business within five years,” Walters said.

Walters said he wanted to thank the community for their support over the years. Many of his customers have become life-long friends.

“So long and thanks for all the fish,” he added.

If you are interested in owning Ha Ha Pizza, call Owens at 513-392-0989 or 513-392-6750. More information can be found at www.BusinessForSaleOhio.com.

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