About Heavenly Pizza
Wrong Turn Made Right…
September 1, 1981, the two young business partners A and J opened their doors to not only success, but to a way of ministry.
A and J grew up together in Wyandot, Michigan. When they reached the appropriate age, they joined the work force and spent the next few years working in two pizza shops. During their years working in the pizza shops, they became born-again Christians. Though they still enjoyed the pizza business and the many friends they’d come to acquire, they both felt they needed a different environment and opportunity to spread God’s word. So they decided to open up their own shop.
A customer gave them the suggestion of going to Galion,Ohio so they sent out to try their luck there first. After getting turned down three times, they went back to work in Michigan. Though Galion hadn’t worked for them, they were still determined and found themselves set on finding a place in Ohio.
Setting out for the second time, they left with only a few pieces of equipment and the little money they’d saved up, including the money they got after selling J’s car. They’d planned on trying in Perrysburg, but on their way they made a wrong turn and ended up in Tiffin. Making the wrong turn led them to a building for lease that was previously a pizza shop and was all set up for them. After they signed the lease, they went to work getting the building ready to open their doors. They’d decided on the name A.J.’s Heavenly Pizza, the A standing for Iggy’s last name Abbolone and J for John. The Heavenly was to illustrate that it was a Christian establishment. Close to opening day, J was out beginning to paint their sign over the one that was still there. A few kids stopped to watch and asked what they were opening up. J replied that they were opening a pizza shop and asked one of the boys what his name was and he told him AJ.
Business quickly grew after they opened and it was a big help to the location being so close to Heidelberg. Not long after, they found another location close by that was more room for less rent. For the next ten years, between the money they saved on rent and the growth of their business, they were able to move into their present building on Main Street, eventually becoming owners of the building. During the first ten years of their move to Main Street, J and his young family moved down to Tulsa, Oklahoma and opened another shop with another partner, Tim Distel. After eight years of good business, J left the shop with Tim to go back home to Ohio.
In the next ten years, three more A.J.’s opened.
The third A.J.’s was opened by Joshua Elchert, J’s son-in-law. He’s a son of close family friends and worked with J for ten years. During his ten years, he met and fell in love with J’s eldest daughter Keisha and with her; they opened a shop in Findlay, Ohio. The first was in Fremont where A opened his own. The next was opened by close friends and loyal workers Dean and Theresa Distel. Both shops have been successful and a help in building the ministry.
Now J, with the help of his son-in-law, hope to continue making the ministry grow.