Hunt Brothers Pizza fills the the pizza void in small towns and underserved urban neighborhoods across the country. The company sets up shop in convenience stores like Raqqa Food Mart on Chambers Road in north St. Louis County. Here, in the modest village of Riverview, economic activity seems practically non-existent. Riverview and the communities that surround it--the suburbs of Glasgow Village and Bellefontaine Neighbors and the Baden and Riverview neighborhoods of far North St. Louis city--are all facing declining population numbers. Highlighting this is the building just across the street from Raqqa, the former St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church, which opened in 1958 as the North County area experienced a building boom. Five decades later North County parishes faced a substantial decline in membership, which led to the closure or consolidation of many churches. Today, another faith community occupied the building, but the larger forces that led to the St. Catherine's closure in 2005 (population decline, aging housing stock, racism) have resulted in the availability of fewer and fewer goods and services. Pizzerias, especially ones that focus on homemade ingredients, just aren't around. There's a Domino's about two miles away on Lewis and Clark, but that seems a world away from here, especially for the many residents who do not own cars. And the TJ's Pizza factory is located in Glasgow Village, but, hey, that doesn't really count. So, markets like Raqqa fill the void for light groceries, hot food, and refreshment, while Hunt Brothers steps up for pizza. They provide essential services for underserved communities where many of the usual business suspect choose not to bother. And Hunt Brothers may not be our first choice of pizzas, but it's great to know they there.
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