Local business Pizza Shuttle faces its potential end


Delaney Benson

(Photo Illustration)

Jake Hamilton, Opinion Editor

Pizza Shuttle sits in the same place on Tamarack that it has for the past 24 years, but today, the air is different. The workers prepare the food with their usual diligence, but today, many eyes are angled down with sadness.

The door opens with a crash. “Where can I sign that petition?!” local Trish Gapik said. “We do not need another freaking Subway.”

Frank Scarborough has owned Pizza Shuttle for 24 years; 15 years ago, he was joined by co-owners Mr. and Mrs. Eubanks. After the Pizza Shuttle lease expired, Hinds Investments signed a lease with Subway. Subway plans to move from their Carlsbad Village Drive location to the Pizza Shuttle location on Tamarack. If this plan goes through, Pizza Shuttle will close down on Dec. 20.

“It’s a money grab,” co-owner Susan Eubanks said. “Subway just came in and said ‘we want this place and that’s that.’ So now out from underneath us, instead of negotiating a new lease, [Hinds Investments is] kicking us out to put Subway in.”

Subway’s district manager declined to comment on this situation.

Similarly, just months ago, word spread that the Armenian Cafe would be shut down in order to build a Marriott Hotel. For many, what’s happening now with Pizza Shuttle is part of the same detrimental trend.

“Corporate greed is certainly a big problem in Carlsbad,” Susan Eubanks said. “We really just want to save small businesses, mom-and-pop places like our own.”

While the squabble over the Tamarack location may seem insignificant for a giant corporation like Subway, Pizza Shuttle faces difficulty in its struggle to reestablish the restaurant. Looking for new locations, the owners soon found that there was no space in Carlsbad Village. Furthermore, if they went to the other side of town, they could lose their local customers, and face rent outside of their budget.

“This environment is so bad for us small businesses in California,” co-owner Scarborough said. “We just seem to be getting hit on all sides at all times. We’ve spent the past ten days looking for other locations. So now about all we can do is hope something happens with Subway or our landlord this week.”

The difficulty for local business doesn’t only affect the owners; the community relies on Pizza Shuttle as well. Many CHS students have worked there over the years, many classes rely on Pizza Shuttle’s ability to deliver right to the school (the owners got the idea from the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High), and many community events are sponsored by Pizza Shuttle.

“We actually give back to the community,” Susan Eubanks said. “We also employ 20 people, 10 of which are full time. Subway won’t be employing that many people. So we’re going to see a lot of people losing jobs. There will be one less restaurant to be donating pizzas to CHS and sponsoring all of these sports teams. Subway is not going to be getting involved with the community like Pizza Shuttle has.”

The owners feel grateful for the community support as they continue to rack up petition signatures. In the end, the future of the restaurant remains uncertain.

“It’s legal but it’s not right,” Susan Eubanks said. “We’re hoping Subway will do the right thing and realize ‘wow, these people have been here 24 years.’ We know that our fight is a hard fight. We want to send a message to Carlsbad: we need to protect small business.”