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By Teresa Bigham / The Hesperian-Beacon—
(Editor’s note: We apologize for the error that was made last week on this two-part series. The first part ran again by mistake.)
LOCKNEY – He worked the second shift at Walmart Distribution Center, so when he got off work, he would go home, catch a few hours of sleep and then go to Village Pizza where the owner taught him how to make pizza. He would change his clothes in the bathroom for his shift at Walmart. He learned all the ropes in only four months.
In late January 1990, DeLeon recalled the owner of the pizza restaurant telling him the business was up for sale. DeLeon kept going in and working for free. In early March, the owner told DeLeon he would finance the business for him. At that time the price was $15,000 for just the equipment.
Being newly married and a baby who was born in February, DeLeon was determined to make a better life for his family. He sat down and talked to his parents. They went to the bank, and got a loan for $6,000. He went back to the owner with his loan money. The owner told him “give me $3,000 down and keep $3,000 for running costs.”
By April 1990, DeLeon and his brother David were in partnership, and Main Street Pizza was born.
“This would have never happened if it wasn’t the Lord’s plan,” DeLeon said. “If you speak out in faith the Lord hears you and He guides you in every step.”
Part of the purchase of the equipment was the secret recipe for the one-of-a-kind crust that had been around since the late 1960’s at least. It’s still made the same today.
“In 1990, our nation went to war, and we had a recession,” DeLeon said. “I wasn’t able to stay afloat. I was able to keep making my payment to the equipment, but I wasn’t able to make my lease payment. In February of 1991, Wanda Baker leased me a building, the building we’re in today, but she couldn’t do any repairs to it.
Davis Lumber allowed me to charge items I needed to make the proper repairs, and Mrs. Baker didn’t charge any rent for a few months while I made the proper repairs. My dad and I made all the repairs, and we were able to reopen as a carry out pizza place.”
“With the trials that America is going through today with the COVID-19 virus, our business was down 44% the first week, but with faith in our Lord it’s slowly coming back,” said DeLeon.
He has a set way he has his employees clean the restaurant.
“Everyone knows how I want it done, and they all work very hard,” said DeLeon. “They wipe everything down from the doorknobs inside and outside, the little candy machines, coke fountain and everything in between. We use a sanitizing solution on everything. Our community is strong, and we will get through this.
God has us in his hands.”
DeLeon has been through many trials and has never lost his faith. He and his family would love to thank the community for their support, Davis Lumber for believing in him so many years ago and Craig Ellison for fixing his car so he could make his dream come true and bring Main Street Pizza to Lockney.