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Financing

Happy Joe’s Pizza sells majority stake to new holdings group

Dynamic Restaurant Holdings plans to build stable of regional pizza chains

Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream sold a majority stake in the quick-service chain to newly formed Dynamic Restaurant Holdings group.

DRH will operate out of Happy Joe’s corporate offices in Bettendorf, Iowa, with plans to acquire other regional pizza concepts around the country and become a national operator of multiple brands, according to Happy Joe’s spokeswoman Kristel Whitty-Ersan.

DRH also purchased Tony Sacco’s, a Florida-based coal-fired pizza concept with seven units.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based private-investment group AAVIN Equity Advisors serves as a financial partner in the deal, the financial details of which were not disclosed.

Happy Joe’s, known for its taco pizza and other thin-crust offerings, currently has 55 units in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Arizona. Ten of the locations are company-owned.

“The goal is to share expenses and help franchisees be more profitable,” Whitty-Ersan says.

Jim Smith, CEO of DRH, and Jim Hayes, the holding group’s CFO, will take on those roles at Happy Joe’s. Founder Lawrence “Happy Joe” Whitty is 80 years old and semi-retired. His children, Whitty-Ersan and Happy Joe’s President Larry Whitty, will retain their previous roles within DRH.

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