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Community Involvement

Special Needs

Before opening his first Happy Joe's Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor, founder Joe Whitty was nearly let go from another pizza chain for sponsoring a party for a group of special needs children without first checking with his boss.

The night before opening his first restaurant in the Village of East Davenport, IA, Happy Joe invited the local priest to bless his business and he made a promise that if he could make enough money to feed his family, he would give something back to the community.

As it turned out, business was so good that Joe thought maybe he shouldn't have prayed so hard.

After just a few weeks in business, people were waiting out the door. I wanted to be true to my word, so I shut the restaurant down one day a year to have a party for those less fortunate, and I require my franchisees to do the same. We've been having these Special Needs parties for 42 years, and have hosted over 150,000 special needs children at parties throughout our chain. Happy Joe Whitty

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