With so many chains in town, pizza places in Faribault are easy to spot , but effective Jan. 1, the locally owned Basilleo’s Pizza will be one less option.
“It’s hard to compete against the chains of the world. It’s next to impossible,” said Jeff Westad, the third owner of Bassileo’s in 57 years. “It’s a bit of a miracle this place has stayed open as long as it has.”
With changing marketing conditions and a host of other places to buy a hot pizza in town for less, Westad said he’s exhausted all his options to keep his business open. Back in September, he announced he planned to sell the Fourth Street NW pizzeria as an existing business. Two potential buyers backed out at the last minute, however.
“It’s all economics,” said Westad. “We have to operate at a certain volume to make money to pay for everything. The Faribault market doesn’t support that.”
Westad believes Basilleo’s pizzas, made from scratch with fresh ingredients since day one, are generally the best in town. On the downside, he recognizes a large portion of Faribault’s population can’t afford a $15 to $20 pizza. Westad said someone pointed out a business like Basilleo’s might succeed in a suburb of the Twin Cities, where the average income is higher.
“I’ve come to grips with it,” said Westad. “There’s no hurt feelings; it’s just a sad reality.”
Westad called Basilleo’s closing a test of faith, but he’s optimistic about the future. With 30 years of business experience behind him, he said he’d like to take time after New Year’s to examine his options.
“I want to thank everyone in Faribault for their support [of Basilleo’s] over the years,” said Westad. “I want to look forward, not behind, and focus on that.”
Brothers Basil and Leo Burger opened the business in 1960. Their first names were combined to form the pizzeria’s name.