Popular Columbia pizza chain launches expansion into the Southeast.

The owners of a beloved locally-owned Columbia pizza chain have made the decision to expand into franchising.

Village Idiot Pizza, which started in Five Points and has been in business for 32 years, is now offering franchises around the Southeast.

Owners Brian and Kelly Glynn, who purchased Village Idiot in Five Points from its original owners in 2003, will be a driving force in supporting future franchisees.

The husband-and-wife team met at Village Idiot when both were in their 20s and working in the original restaurant. They have since expanded to two other locations: 4517 Forest Drive in Forest Acres and Olympia at the Mills off Whaley Street.

The Glynns told SC Biz News that the idea to franchise came after the restaurants endured the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic, including forced closures, limited dining opportunities and staffing shortages.

"The decision was kind of born out of the pandemic, because we realized that we had probably gone through the hardest time in our industry that anyone could experience," Kelly Glynn said. "We decided we really wanted to see how much more we could grow and bring what we think is a great model into other communities."

Long-time customers from other parts of South Carolina and many other states have been inquiring for years about when the chain was going to expand, Kelly Glynn said. They regularly hear from people around the country who remember eating at Village Idiot during significant times in their lives, especially their years at the University of South Carolina.

The restaurant's original location in the college student mecca of Five Points is especially associated with the USC experience for many people, she said.

Because of Village Idiot's continued popularity with both current USC students and alumni, the Glynns think the brand would be especially well-suited to franchises in college towns around the Southeast.

For guidance as they embark into franchising, the Glynns said they have consulted with the owner of another local restaurant icon, Groucho's Deli, which also got its start in the Five Points area.

Groucho's, named after founder Harold "Groucho" Miller," first opened in 1941 and has since become famous for its large menu of sandwiches and selection of signature...

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