SMOKEY POINT — When Domino’s Pizza opened the doors of its latest location in Smokey Point on Friday, Sept. 13, it donated 100 percent of that branch’s sales for the day to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association to aid Lacey Ernst, a 5-year-old Arlington girl in need of a heart transplant.
Dave Oliva, marketing coordinator for the new Smokey Point Domino’s Pizza, explained that he’d heard about the Ernst family’s plight when he’d joined the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce.
“[Chamber Managing Director] Mary Jane Harmon told me all about this family, so we thought that a fundraiser for them would be a perfect way to kick off our opening here,” Oliva said. “We’re not limiting our donations to the day’s profits. We figured it would just be easier to give them the money from all our sales for the day.”
While a final confirmed total was not available as of press time, Oliva expressed the hope that the 13 hours of sales from 11 a.m. to midnight on this year’s Friday the 13th would prove lucky enough to generate close to $5,000 for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.
“This little girl has really captured the heart of the community, so we’d love to be involved in helping her out,” Oliva said. “We’re just proud to be in a position where we can help her.”
While Lacey Ernst has lost the ability to chew or swallow solid foods over the course of the many corrective surgeries she’s already had, she nonetheless enjoyed having Domino’s employees guide her through the steps of applying toppings to a pizza in the store’s “pizza theater,” a new concept to Domino’s which puts the store’s employees on display behind a glass-walled gallery while they work.
“This way, customers can sit down and see their pizzas being made from scratch, from start to finish,” said Shannon Yuen, corporate marketing leader of Domino’s Pizza for the Seattle region. “It opens up what was once that back room to show off our fresh ingredients and our hand-tossed dough.”
Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert likewise took a turn at learning how to prepare pizza from Domino’s employees, and even tossed the dough in the air once or twice.
“I want to thank our Chamber for paying attention to all the new businesses that we have coming in,” Tolbert said, prior to hand-tossing dough and cutting the ceremonial ribbon marking the official opening of the store at noon that day. “This is just really exciting. I think this new store concept is wonderful and will meet with the best of success. Domino’s will fit right in here in Arlington because their heart is already invested in this community as they’ve shown by what they’re doing for Lacey.”
While most of the store’s customers went in and out its doors during its first hour, Oliva and Yuen expressed confidence that its pizza theater and its restaurant seating will soon encourage them to stop by Domino’s for sit-down meals as well.
“We’re just blown away that Domino’s is doing all of this,” said Nick Ernst, who accompanied his wife Heidi and their daughter Lacey for both the ribbon-cutting and a tour of the store. “The community keeps coming together in such a spirit of generosity on our behalf.”
The new Domino’s Pizza is located at 3704 172nd St. NE in Arlington.