STERLING – A downtown business closed its doors for the last time on Saturday.
The franchisees of Papa Murphy's Take ’N' Bake Pizza, 415 Locust St., decided not to renew their lease, after running the business for 7 years. Troy and Vickie Milks, who live in the Dakota area, also own the Papa Murphy's in Freeport, which they will continue operating.
"Our lease was up for renewal and we decided not to sign another 5-year agreement," Vickie Milks said.
The building is owned by Sterling Today. The operators said the store was struggling the last couple of years, but the closing wasn't dictated by the company.
"This was a very difficult decision for us," Milks said. "Sterling Today was great with us, and we had a great manager and employees, but the Sterling store just never took off like the one in Freeport."
Papa Murphy’s, launched in 1995, and has about 1,300 stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Arab Emirates, nearly all of them franchised. It is the fifth largest pizza chain in the U.S. A store in Dixon remains open.
The Papa Murphy's chain is based in Vancouver, Washington. The company was acquired in April for $190 million by MTY Food Group, a Canadian food group that owns several chains that include Cold Stone Creamery, Baja Fresh and TCBY Frozen Yogurt.