BRANTFORD – “There seemed to be a vacancy in fast food and pizza parlours servicing Eagle Place,” says Six Nations Onondaga Turtle Clan member, Vince “Vinnie” Gilchrist of his families owned and operated business venture, Gillies Pizza and Wings, located at 207 Erie Ave. in Eagle Place/Brantford.
Vinnie and his second oldest son Cory, along with other members of the Gilchrist family, decided to fill that void by opening Gillies Pizza.
“We started this to give my kids a job and a career,” says Vinnie. “In today’s world when you can’t count on much, the entrepreneurial spirit gives you control over your own destiny.”
After learning the business and the method of cooking pizza and the other menu items while working at another pizzeria, Cory and the family began preparations towards opened their own place on a shoestring, a common mistake for any small business.
That slowed the initial progress significantly, but after making a few mistakes and learning from them, Gillies is now open and taking root within the Eagle Place neighbourhood and beyond with its official grand opening in March of this year.
“It’s a good location,” says Vinnie. “There is a lot of traffic volume.”
But there is another reason Eagle Place in particular was the chosen location.
“I’ve lived here in Eagle Place my whole life and I’m fond of Eagle Place,” says Vinnie.
Ownership and daily operation of the business is in son Cory’s hands while his dad, Vinnie, looks after the maintenance of the equipment and whatever else needs to be done. Just like any successful family business.
Vinnie and Cory are also very pleased with being able to serve all of Six Nations with delivery orders and is also perfectly located for pick up orders on the way home to Six Nations from work.
With the BSAR overpass nearby, Gillies can deliver into West Brant, Conklin Road and Shellards Lane just about as quickly as down town. An estimated 10 to 15 minutes after the meal is cooked and ready to go.
Gillies services three schools with the Eagle Place region and provides the goodies for pizza days and other special occasions.
He is well aware of his clientele and their life styles.
“We’re not competing with the Keg or anything,” he says. “Our clientele is more blue collar and cost conscious and that’s who we serve.”
Gillies also boasts some of the best wings this side of Buffalo, Doritos Taco bags, fries, poutine, salads, and more and is constantly adding to the menu. Subs will be added soon.
“One thing I like is that someone sit and wait for their take-out order and watch TV, or sit in and enjoy your meal while watching the big game on TV,” he says.
It doesn’t have to be mid-summer to enjoy Chapman’s ice cream by the bowl or the cone with an amazing 40 flavours to choose from at the peak of summer but Gillies maintains a wide and fresh selection of flavours year round.
Catering is an important part of the big picture for the near future at Gillies they hope to be able to offer soon.