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Freier’s Pizzeria operating in new downtown spot

News Photo by Darby Hinkley A customer buys freshly made bread from Freier’s Pizzeria and Italian Bistro on Wednesday. From left to right are employee Mike Tarsney, and owner Randy Freier handing the bread to Jackie Leavesley, who says, “This bread is absolutely fabulous. It makes the best grilled cheese and the best French toast.”

ALPENA — Randy Freier is happily operating his pizzeria and restaurant in a new location in downtown Alpena.

At the start of this year, he reopened Freier’s Pizzeria and Italian Bistro at 104 N. 2nd Ave., just a few blocks down and across the river from his old location at 700 N. 2nd Ave.

Loyal customers have followed him, and new customers have discovered his pizza, pasta, sandwiches, soups, bread, salads and more.

In an interview on Wednesday, Freier said they moved, “because I would not have survived in my old location.”

His new location is right downtown, where foot traffic is higher, in between Parallel 45 Books and Gifts, and Traveling Ladders.

“Leases were coming up, and this place was available,” he explained of the new storefront, which has more space as well as a better location. “My five-year plan was to move, anyway. I was able to accomplish it before the five years, and what a better location than right here? It’s ideal.”

Surviving the COVID-19 pandemic as a small business has not been easy, especially since he was closed for the month of December as he readied the new restaurant for opening and awaited health inspections.

“Right around April 1, 2020, my business was not even making enough money to pay the bills,” he said, “in the old location.”

The Alpena News featured Freier as a small business owner later that month, and he said that made a positive impact.

“When the article came out, I must have had 300 to 400 people walk in here and say ‘I never even knew you were here,'” Freier said. “The response of our community was amazing. That got me through those summer months, and they kind of lifted stuff (restrictions) through the summer, so it stayed kind of normal. That’s when I did most of my business was the summer. So, I made it through that, and it started tapering off again about August.”

He got a grant from Target Alpena for $4,000 in September.

“I used that money to find a new location because I knew my business would not survive in the location it was at,” he said. “Less visibility.”

Freier is looking forward to the warmer months, which bring in quite a lot of business compared to the wintertime.

In addition to pizza by the slice as well as whole pizzas, Freier’s offers a wide variety of lunch and dinner options, as well as freshly made bread.

Freier’s Pizzeria and Italian Bistro is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday.

They offer dine-in, carry-out and delivery.

For more information, visit Freier’s Facebook page or call 989-354-6722.

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