Carbonear pizza place sells out during blackout

Macho Pizza opens doors, gives residents a place to have a hot meal

Melissa Jenkins
Published on January 5, 2014
Macho Pizza owner Alicia Button (centre) opened her pizza shop during the blackout Jan. 4. Manager Juanita Parrott (left) and employee Melissa Bugden joined her, cooking in the dark.
Photo by Melissa Jenkins

The power was out all across Carbonear on the afternoon of Jan. 4 when Alicia Button piled on three layers of clothes and faced the fierce winds and high snow drifts to open her pizza shop, located on Columbus Drive.

And she’s glad she did.

Macho Pizza sold completely out of pizza, chicken fingers, fish and everything else on the menu by suppertime.

Although the electricity was off at Macho pizza, Button called co-worker Melissa Bugden, and the pair opened shop at 1 p.m. with propane to run the ovens and deep fryers. They used numerous flashlights for light and put a handwritten “open” sign on the door.

When asked why she opened when other businesses didn’t, she said her fresh ingredients wouldn’t make it long without cold, so she figured she would try and get rid of what she could, but she also said she was happy to help those without power get a hot meal.

 During the first two hours, Button said it was business as expected, a few orders here and there. Imagine her surprise when at 3 p.m. she called in another employee for an extra pair of hands.

“I really had no clue how busy (it) would be,” Button told The Compass Saturday evening after she closed up shop. “I had to call manager Juanita (Parrott) to help with our busy spurt. By the time she got there, I had a stack of orders and a store full.”

Even though the wait was long for some customers, Button explained there were no complaints.

“Our customers understood,” she said. “We even had one customer get a flashlight from his car. Here we were making pizza and deep fried orders in the dark, with flashlights attached to our foreheads (and) we worked as a team. (There were) amazing stories that came from customers who were cold and hungry, and were happy to get some food.”

When the store ran out of fries, a customer even called ahead to ask if the restaurant would deep fry her own. Button and Parrott agreed to do so.

“We didn’t see it as a problem,” Parrott said. “We just checked to see if we had space in our fryers, and we did it for her.”


No more food

It was 4:30 p.m. when she realized they were sold out of pizza, and posted it to her Facebook page to let potential customers know.

An hour later the rest of her stock was gone.

“We sold out of everything,” Buttonexclaimed. "And we served more than 100 customers."

The one disappointment of the day that the ladies experienced was turning away the last visitor to the store. But the act of kindness that followed made up for it in a whole different way.

The last order was being paid for by a male customer, who witnessed Victoria Harnum and her 16-year-old son get turned away.

As the Harnum’s were getting ready to leave after being told there was no more food, the man approached their vehicle and asked if the two liked onion rings.

“We said yes and he passed them over to us,” Harnum explained. “I said I will pay you for them, (but) he said, ‘No, Happy New Year.’

“I was in shock. What a nice thing to do.”

“Not only did we help those we could, our customers helped each other,” Button said. “I was so thankful I could help.”

Power has been restored to Carbonear since, and Macho Pizza and most other local establishments are back to business as usual.