Sam's Pizza a finalist for $10,000 'facelift'

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By:  By Emma Henderson at WSAW

Sam's Pizza has been serving Wausau since 1958 and is now in the running to get a $10,000 makeover from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's Main Street Makeover Contest.

The contest is designed to help update businesses with a long history in a main street community.

"Our kids graduated high school, and my wife and I decided we must continue the family tradition and the opportunity arose and we took it," said Vince Lacalamita.

The business was previously owned by his father-in-law. Lacalamita and his wife, Jodi, have been in the pizza business together for 25 years.

"The stories that we've heard from customers that it's not just a part of their lives, but ours as well," Lacalamita said.

That's why the family-centered pizza joint caught the attention of the Wisconsin Economic Development Commission.

"Sam's Pizza is a really good candidate because it's a business that's really in a transition phase very much like our downtowns in our communities across the state," WEDC Regional Economic Development Director Tim Weber said.

As Vince and Jodi take over the business they want to make sure to keep its history alive, while still freshening up the store to entice more customers.

"The project itself is really going to operate pretty much like a reality tv makeover show," Weber said.

When the winner is selected, consultants will come in to re-decorate, and even work on the businesses' media presence to help remind the community why the business has lasted. It is also meant to encourage the business to continue its success in a growing main street community.

"We'd like to stay here and grow and thrive and continue the Wausau tradition and keep the downtown thriving," Lacalamita said.

"Shop N Vac" in Tomahawk was also selected as a finalist for the makeover because of its popular classes and a desire to open more demonstration space for products.

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