Open for biz

Holiday doesn't shut every door

Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's Christmas, and while other businesses may be closed, Mike Ellis and his family are raking in the dough, so to speak, by making and delivering pizzas 24 hours a day until Dec. 27.

"Because all of our other stores are closed, they're such a high demand," said Ellis, owner of Pizza Boys in Kenai. "Since noon yesterday we've done about 2,600 bucks worth (of deliveries), which is about 62 individual orders."

In their third year of owning Pizza Boys, Ellis, his wife, Christene, and their sons Brandon, Joshua, Timothy and Cody is cooking and delivering pizzas to the Kenai Fire and Police departments, as well as other residences. And while other Pizza Boys' locations are closed, Ellis is delivering to Soldotna and the Kalifornsky Beach Road area.

"We've done it this way for three years," he said. "We have fun. People are in much better spirits."

That doesn't mean the Ellis family skimps on celebrating Christmas. Ellis said his family opened gifts Tuesday morning in between deliveries, accessing his ordering system via a laptop. If anyone wanted to place an order, he said he could take it over his computer and have it delivered within 45 minutes.

"We could run our entire store from home if we had to with the exception of cooking," he said. "It takes us about 15 minutes."

Pizza Boys wasn't the only business opened on Christmas. Holiday gas stations, the Regal Kambe movie theater and Blockbuster Video kept their doors open, as well.

Whether folks needed a pit stop on their way to visit friends or wanted to take their mind off Christmas for a while, Pizza Boys provided the food, Holiday provided the fuel, and Regal and Blockbuster provided entertainment.

"It's nice to have it opened (for) people who don't celebrate," said Krystyna Gonzalez, Regal Kambe manager.

Gonzalez said it's Regal's policy to be open every holiday, including Christmas and Easter, but business depends on what movies are playing. "National Treasure" just came out, she said, which has attracted a lot of people.

On a normal Tuesday, Regal would have two show times, around 4 and 7 p.m. Because of winter break, however, Gonzalez said Regal features movies around 1, 4, 7 and 10 p.m., and an extra employee is on shift.

"We made the days longer so more kids would come," Gonzalez said.

Blockbuster Video in Kenai cut short its hours, opening in the afternoon instead of morning. But it was still open until midnight. James McCarthy, the store's assistant manager, said a smaller staff works on Christmas to allow most of its employees time to celebrate.

While business wasn't as fast as a usual for a Tuesday, McCarthy said there were more people waiting for the store to open than he expected.

"We just opened the doors 15 minutes ago and already we've had 10 customers," he said. "There are people out here waiting on Christmas morning. This is the last place I would want to be if I wasn't working."

As a franchise, McCarthy said Blockbuster is obligated to maintain certain hours, even during the holidays. And while it might make sense for people to rent Christmas movies on Christmas Day, he said he suspects by this time, most people have had enough.

Chuck Walker, a cashier at the Holiday gas station in Kenai, said he and other employees were working split shifts during the holiday.

He said business hours haven't changed; there is still gas available to motorists 24 hours a day, 365 days out of the year.

"Everybody seems to be in a good mood today," he said as he rang customers up.

Walker said he'd be sitting at home if he wasn't at work.

"It's fun, actually. It breaks up the day. Everybody's friendly."

Jessica Cejnar can be reached at

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