Pizza Transit remembers founder
Published 9:14 am Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Pizza Transit owner Sarah Brittin lost her father seven years ago to cancer.
On Monday, the seventh anniversary of her father’s death, Britton remembered Mike Vogel by donating 10 percent of all sales to the American Cancer Society.
“It’s a sad day for our family so we thought it’d be really nice to make the situation brighter by doing this,” Brittin said. “It’s a positive way to remember.”
Vogel is the man responsible for bringing the popular pizza restaurant to Niles.
In 1987, he left a job managing a corporate pizzeria to open Pizza Transit on South 11th Street.
“It was his dream to have a family-owned pizza place,” Brittin said.
Vogel ran the business for 17 years with the help of his family, including Brittin.
“He opened it when I was 5 so I had been running around since I was little, helping him out,” she said.
Brittin bought the business from her father in 2004 — two years before he died on Dec. 2, 2006.
Vogel died from a rare form of lymphoma that came on fairly suddenly.
Brittin said she learned a lot about life and business from her father.
“I learned my work ethic from him and learned how to be a small business owner,” she said. “He always had a great relationship with his customers, so I learned that we weren’t just making pizzas. We were getting to know people.”
Today, Pizza Transit is one of Niles’ best-known restaurants. Last year, Brittin moved the store to downtown Niles and added room for sit-down dining. The Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce named Brittin woman of the year in March.
“It’s been nice watching it grow,” she said. “He taught me this wasn’t just a career — we have sauce in the blood.”
Brittin said she plans to continue the fundraiser each year to honor her father. This was the second year for the event.
Pizza Transit raised $165 Monday.