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Regional pizza chain opens third restaurant

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Peter Ballantine, right, talks about his experiences as a business owner and entrepreneur in front of students from  Penn State York. The students attended the soft opening Wednesday of the third restaurant in his new restaurant chain, Willy's Originals Scratch Pizza and Craft Sandwiches.
Peter Ballantine, right, talks about his experiences as a business owner and entrepreneur in front of students from Penn State York. The students attended the soft opening Wednesday of the third restaurant in his new restaurant chain, Willy's Originals Scratch Pizza and Craft Sandwiches. - (Photo / )

A new regional restaurant chain held a soft opening Wednesday for its third outlet, a location tucked into a shopping plaza in Springettsbury Township, York County.

The chain, Willy's Originals Scratch Pizza and Craft Sandwiches, also has locations in Chambersburg and York.

They are owned by entrepreneur Peter Ballantine, who opened the first two locations earlier this year as franchises for Pie Five Pizza. They were converted to the Willy's name in late summer.

The Springettsbury restaurant, in the York Town Center near Route 30, is the first to open only as Willy's. It is designed to serve as a template for future locations in and around Central Pennsylvania, Ballantine said.

"I'm interested in getting these right and growing from there," said Ballantine, a former McDonald's franchisee in the Harrisburg area.

He embarked on his own chain out of a desire to have more flexibility in crafting the menu and selecting ingredients, he said. Willy's procures soup from a Harrisburg company and craft soda from Harrisburg-based Appalachian Brewing Co.

"And there's something to be said for regional taste," said Ballantine. 

Willy's makes a variety of pizzas and sandwiches to order.

During the restaurant's soft opening on Wednesday, Ballantine spoke to students from Penn State York about his experiences as an entrepreneur. The students were visiting as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

He discussed everything from dealing with bankers to dealing with rejection.

In addition to founding Willy's, Ballantine also owns a commercial kitchen maintenance and repair company called OnPoint

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Joel Berg

Joel Berg

Joel Berg is editor of the Central Penn Business Journal. Born in Philadelphia, raised in Northern Virginia and now living in York, he's a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and the University of Maryland. Have a question or story idea? Email him at jberg@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JoelBYorkPa.

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