Hitched to Publix, growing pizza chain takes slice of the West End


Harry and Sara Ragsdale are opening Marco’s Pizza at the John Rolfe Commons Shopping Center in Henrico County.(J. Elias O’Neal)

Continuing an aggressive local expansion plan, a husband-and-wife franchise duo that brought a national pizza chain to Richmond has found another place to plant its flag.

Harry and Sara Ragsdale are preparing to open a new Marco’s Pizza in the John Rolfe Commons Shopping Center at 2284 John Rolfe Parkway in Henrico County. It’s their third local Marco’s location in less than two years.

The couple’s first two stores are in Chesterfield. One opened in 2015 at 13911 Midlothian Turnpike in the Charter Colony Shopping Center, and a second opened last year at 13918 Hull Street Road in the Woodlake area.

They have signed on to open seven additional Marco’s Pizza locations west of Interstate 95 over the next three years.

The new outpost will occupy a 2,200-square-foot storefront between RedRidge Pet Market and a Virginia ABC store. It’s expected open by late June.

“We are a neighborhood-driven, community-based business and we like this shopping center because it’s smack-dab in the center of the Short Pump neighborhood,” Sara Ragsdale said. “It’s convenient for families to pick up, and it gives us easy access to deliver.”

Another driving factor in selecting the location was Publix. The popular grocery chain is taking over 10 Martin’s stores in the region, including one in John Rolfe Commons.

“We’re from South Carolina, so we know Publix well,” she said. “It will prove to be a great draw for us.”

harry and sara ragdale

Harry and Sara Ragsdale

Prior to getting into the pizza business, Sara worked in catering in South Carolina, and Harry is a former attorney.

The couple plans to invest $350,000 to $400,000 into the West End location, which is being financed by Union Bank & Trust.

Midlothian-based Fas-Trac Commercial General Contractors are overseeing the space’s build out, while Michigan-based Retail Design Consultants designed the restaurant.

Brokers Allyson Wiggins and Jason Guillot of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer worked the deal.

Plans call for 26 seats for dine-in, with plans to hire 35 to 40 people, including 20 drivers to cover more than 60,000 residents within a 3-mile radius.

“The [West End] territory goes all the way up Route 288 and includes the Capital One campus,” Harry said. “It then goes down, hugs I-64 and goes as far south as Gaskins Road.”

The Ragsdales hired Mark Wentzel to oversee management of their local operations, with roughly 90 employees.

With its western Henrico location in the works, Harry Ragsdale said the couple would like to open a fourth restaurant in Richmond by year-end.

“Now is the time to really grow our business,” he said.

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Pamela Harrell
Pamela Harrell
3 years ago

I know you are excited about the grand opening. Please respect the Bennington Ridge East and Ashley Glen neighborhoods as we are 0.7 miles from your business. Please keep the music and noise down as Respect to our neighborhoods. I can hear loud music from my house because I am on the other side of Tuckahoe Little League Field.