Bernatello’s Buys Pizza Corner Brand in North Dakota

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Maple Lake, Minnesota, USA-headquartered Bernatello’s Foods has reached an agreement to acquire the Pizza Corner frozen pizza brand, effective May 20. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Valley City, North Dakota-based Pizza Corner, which has been in the frozen pizza business since 1980, started out as a restaurant in 1977. It was founded by Dave Zubrod, who will continue to own and operate the restaurant while acting as a consultant for the family-owned Bernatello’s operation.

Production of the pizza line – which runs the gamut from plain cheese-, pepperoni- and sausage-topped products to Deluxe, Supreme, Chicken Alfredo and Taco-style pizza – will be relocated to Bernatello’s facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“My biggest concern in the sale was my employees. Their welfare weighed heavily on me right up to the final moment, and in fact derailed the process more than once,” said Zubrod. “After nearly 40 years, the timing and opportunity were right. We’d run out of production space to keep up with demand and potential growth.”

pizza corner logoPizza Corner employees are being offered severance packages as well as options to work at a distribution center planned for Valley City or at the new owner’s out-of-state factories. Sales and delivery operations are expected to expand, along with a larger fleet of trucks, which will also offer job opportunities.

“Dave Zubrod has built not only a quality brand, but a brand that has become an institution in North Dakota and the region,” said Bill Ramsey, owner and president of Bernatello’s Foods. “We are committed to maintaining this high quality while expanding the scope of Pizza Corner’s outstanding product.”

Bernatello’s origins are similar to Pizza Corner’s. Starting out as Bud’s Pizza, a back room tavern oven baking operation in Annandale, Minnesota, sales grew as deliveries to bars and bowling alleys boomed in the 1970s. The company officially became Bernatello’s Pizza in 1982, when Ramsay bought a 50 percent share of the business. The name change to Bernatello’s Pizza occurred as a nod to Bernard Garthe, the founder of the business.

The company quickly grew into a frozen pizza manufacturer, servicing supermarkets around the Midwestern United States. In 1995 Ramsay bought out the other half of Bernatello’s from Garthe and officially made it a family-owned company operating as Bernatello’s Foods. Established brands include Brew Pub, Bellatoria, Orv’s and Roma.