Dhsnuks Navaratne ‘25
Oct 13, 2023
Mamma's Pizza has been a staple in the Mercersburg community for over a decade. It’s a popular favorite for academy students looking for lunch. Longtime owner Ryan Pearson takes commendable pride in the establishment he has worked to maintain since he took over. He is content with his success and values his pivotal role within the modestly-sized Mercersburg community. Pearson resides in the borough with his family. His son, Brayden Pearson ‘27, attends the academy as a day student. From scrubbing tables and concocting pizza sauces as a high school busboy to taking on the ownership of the locally renowned Mamma’s Pizza Shop, Ryan Pearson shows his community how putting faith in locale business can be a viable path to success.
The quaint town of Mercersburg is often dismissed regarding job prospects. Pearson, a native of Waynesboro, Pa, began his career at a pizza shop in McConnellsburg as a teenager, looking to earn some supportive cash. He started rinsing dishes, prepping sauces, and bussing tables under the employment of a Sicilian owner, Roy, whose brother-in-law established the joint around 40 years ago. Eventually, Roy, the owner, pioneered a new shop in Mercersburg, and Pearson assumed official ownership of Mamma’s Pizza Shop in October of 2013.
The establishment earns a handsome local income because of the shop’s monopoly on pizza.
“On a good day, around 10-20% of our revenue comes from Mercersburg Academy, especially on weekends and rainy days,” Pearson explains.
Though unequivocally the shop’s best-selling products are cheese pizzas, Pearsons’ favorite on the menu is either a ham turkey sub or a cheesesteak, both of which are also quite popular among locals. Some other favorite dishes include pepperoni, barbecue, and buffalo-style pizzas. Mamma’s ten employees work tirelessly throughout the week to meet the town’s demand for pizza and sandwiches.
During the destructive coronavirus shutdown, the business suffered a loss in sales of around 50%. However, this only lasted a few weeks, and Mamma’s was able to quickly revive its pre-pandemic glory by the end of the global ordeal.
Pearson said, “It goes to show you that sometimes hard work pays off. I started washing dishes and making sauces, but now I get to have my own shop.”
Mamma’s Pizza is an integral part of Mercersburg’s culinary offerings and will continue to be an important part of the town. The success that Pearson has experienced throughout his humble career is a true testament to the hardworking resilience of Mercersburg’s vibrant community.