Hillside Pizza consolidating its original South Deerfield location into Yankee Candle

  • Co-owner Bob Lindner at the 265 Greenfield Road location of Hillside Pizza in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • A customer picks up an order from Hillside Pizza at Yankee Candle in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Hillside Pizza and Powder Hollow Brewery share a space at Yankee Candle in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Hillside Pizza and Powder Hollow Brewery at Yankee Candle in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Hillside Pizza at 265 Greenfield Road in South Deerfield is consolidating into its Yankee Candle location. The Bernardston and Hadley locations will be unaffected. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 8/19/2021 2:47:17 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — After 15 years at its location on Routes 5 and 10, Hillside Pizza is consolidating its original Deerfield operation into its Yankee Candle location.

Sunday, Aug. 22, is the original location’s final day and the Yankee Candle store’s targeted reopening date is Aug. 27. Hillside’s Pizza’s other locations in Bernardston and Hadley are unaffected by the move.

The consolidation, which has been in the works before the COVID-19 pandemic even affected the United States, was motivated by a desire to save money on the costs associated with operating two restaurants in the same town and a move toward more indoor-dining space.

“Paying two rents, two electric bills and everything else,” said Bob Lindner, Hillside Pizza’s co-owner in a phone interview. “It’s just driving an extra 2 miles if you’re coming from the north and 2 miles closer if you’re coming from town. … We feel it is as good a time as any to make the move.”

The original restaurant opened its doors at 265 Greenfield Road (Routes 5 and 10) in 2006 before expanding to a second Deerfield location inside Yankee Candle in 2019 in a partnership with Power Hollow Brewery, which took over the former Chandler’s Restaurant.

Lindner said Yankee Candle provides a better location because of the increased tourist traffic and its increased indoor-dining capacity — maximum capacity is 120 people at Yankee Candle while the original store’s capacity is 24 — allows room for pandemic-safe consumption.

“It just made sense. The dining-in features are way better down there,” he said. “It’s a better mousetrap overall.”

There are also picnic tables outside and other tables available throughout the Yankee Candle campus.

Lindner said there will be a “slightly different menu,” but other than that, Hillside Pizza’s day-to-day operations will remain the same, with some added improvements.

“We’re having online ordering and getting DoorDash,” Lindner said. “Getting into the 21st century.”

He added that Yankee Candle, despite being a large corporation, has been accommodating with Hillside Pizza’s transition into a bigger operation.

“We’re kind of funky. We’ve never been in the corporate world,” Lindner said. “Working with Yankee (Candle) provides some challenges, but they’ve been very, very supportive of us.”

He said the 265 Greenfield Road location is “tired and needs a lot of work,” and the move is “pretty straightforward” because the infrastructure is already in place.

“This place has been great to us. This was our first restaurant,” Lindner said. “Theoretically, since we’re already set up down there, we could set up the next day. … We’ll set up for next Friday (Aug. 27). That’s kind of the target date.”

The move to Yankee Candle will also provide a new opportunity for Hillside Pizza to go back to its roots of fundraising through pizza, he said. The company began in 2001 in the Greenfield Community Development Corporation’s community kitchen.

“This is our 20th year in fundraising,” Lindner said. “The thing with Yankee (Candle) is they have crowds coming in from everywhere. … We can do fundraising all around the region now because of the contacts and connections that may happen.”

Lindner said the addition of Tree House Brewing’s brewery and concert venue nearby is going to create a great business opportunity for all of Deerfield.

“This is kind of going to be a little brewery alley here,” Lindner said. “It’s like you’ve got a car dealership and then you’ve got another dealership down the street. It’s great.”

Hillside Pizza’s Facebook announcement mentions a looming retirement as another motivation for the consolidation. Lindner said he will stop working at some point, but that time isn’t clear yet.

“I’m one of them,” Lindner said when asked about retirements in the company. “I’ll be 65 in January and I’m still cutting peppers. Who knows where that’s going to go. I’m not in some big, super hurry.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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