WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — After more than three decades, a popular West Warwick pizza shop has decided to close its doors.
Westcott House of Pizza posted a sign on the front door of its Providence Street restaurant Thursday announcing the permanent closure.
“After 33 years, we’ve made the difficult decision to close our doors for good,” the sign reads. “Inflationary and staffing pressures brought on by the pandemic have made the current business climate for restaurants more difficult than any point over the past three decades, and ultimately too challenging for us to overcome. It is our sincere hope that in our place, you will find another local restaurant to support.”
The closure has left more than two dozen of the pizza shop’s employees without a source of income ahead of the holidays.
One of those employees started a GoFundMe page in an effort to support her former co-workers while they begin searching for new job opportunities.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking knowing that these amazing people will no longer be my co-workers and will struggle to make ends meet until finding employment,” the GoFundMe page reads. “I am one of the lucky ones that had this job as a part-time second income, but for most this is not the case.”
The former employee also hopes to raise money for the pizza shop’s owners “in their time of need.”
Other nearby restaurants, most of whom are struggling with staffing shortages themselves, are trying to help the former Westcott House employees by offering them jobs at their establishments.
“We’re more than happy to have you, we’re right down the street,” Morse Tavern manager Estuardo Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said the Coventry restaurant is hiring for a variety of positions, including cooks, servers, dishwashers, bartenders and front-of-house managers.
“We’ve lost a few cooks,” Gonzalez said. “I jumped in the back of the house and did some cooking during the weekday and train new cooks whenever we can find them … finding someone to work is difficult.”
Gonzalez said while it’s unfortunate that Westcott House had to close, the owner of Morse Tavern wants to give the pizza shop’s former employees another opportunity to work in the restaurant industry.
“He just wanted to make sure the employees had somewhere to go, and as another business in the nearby vicinity, he wanted to open his doors,” Gonzalez explained.
Bill’s Place, located on Main Street in West Warwick, is also hiring. The restaurant posted on social media that they will welcome any former Westcott House employees who need a job in the immediate area.
Westcott House used to have a Coventry location, however, that restaurant closed in 2019 because the owners said it was “unable to survive.”