Updated August 18th, 2015 10:00 a.m.
Following widespread public outcry, the convenience store chain called Sheetz has found a West Virginia bakery that can supply pepperoni rolls to all of its stores in West Virginia. Home Industry Bakery in Clarksburg has been selected as the bakery that will replace Abruzzinos and Rogers and Mazza for pepperoni rolls sales to Sheetz, beginning September 12th.
Updated July 30, 2015 at 5:10 p.m.
After intense public outcry, the convenience store Sheetz has apparently reversed its decision to end sales of a West Virginia bakery's pepperoni rolls at its locations in the state.
In an interview Thursday morning with The Clarksburg Post, the convenience store's director of brand strategy Ryan Sheetz confirmed that decision.
“West Virginia-based companies are going to provide West Virginia pepperoni rolls to all of our West Virginia Stores. That will remain unchanged. That is something we have heard loud and clear from our customers, and we couldn’t be happier to take that feedback to heart and execute upon it,” Sheetz told The Clarksburg Post.
Although Sheetz says their pepperoni rolls in West Virginia are currently supplied by three bakeries within the state, the Pennsylvania-based company says it's their intention to reduce that to only one, according to a report from WBOY-TV.
Sheetz executives released this statement Thursday:
We want our customers to know that we listen to their feedback and truly take their opinions into consideration. Our goal is to ensure that pepperoni rolls made in West Virginia are in every Sheetz location in West Virginia. We are currently evaluating many potential West Virginia based partners to fulfill this need. These new partnerships will allow for a more consistent offer and ultimately a better customer experience. We thank our West Virginia customers for their honest feedback and their support during this evaluation process.
An employee of Roger's and Mazza's Bakery told West Virginia Public Broadcasting that the owner of the bakery received a text message Thursday morning saying the decision to cut their product from Sheetz's stores had been reversed. She also confirmed that owners of the bakery were meeting with representatives of Sheetz Thursday to discuss the decision and would not be available for interviews with media until Thursday evening.
However, one delivery driver for Rogers and Mazza's says he was rejected from completing his deliveries Thursday at three Sheetz locations.
Original Post from July 28, 2015 at 5:25 p.m.
In Mountaineer Country, pepperoni rolls are so celebrated, they might as well be added to the state seal. In 2013, pepperoni rolls beat out Arizona’s Chimichangas, Iowa’s Bacon, Oregon’s Pear Tart, South Carolina’s Shrimp and Grits and Georgia’s Peach Cobbler as the most delicious state food in the country, according to CQ Roll Call Taste of America competition.
So it's not really a surprise that West Virginians are very upset to hear that one convenience store chain, called Sheetz, could be dropping its West Virginia made pepperoni rolls.
The news came as a shock to Rogers and Mazza's, a Clarksburg bakery that sells to company.
Up until last Friday, the owners of Rogers and Mazza's bakery were excited to see their business growing. The family owned bakery has roots in making pepperoni rolls that stretch back to the early 1960s.
“We started making pepperoni rolls back then, and we’ve grown to five states, and we currently are making about 20,000 pepperoni rolls a day.”
Dennis Mazza’s stepfather owns the bakery that was notified through an email from the Sheetz corporate office.
“Last Friday I logged on to my email right before the weekend, and there was an email from their corporate that said all bakeries, all direct store deliver bakeries, they will no longer need our services, they decided to go with a warehouse program and that another bakery would start delivering pepperoni rolls to their store,” said Mazza.
These warehouse said pepperoni rolls might come from a bakery in Pennsylvania. However, Sheetz--whose corporate headquarters are based in Pennsylvania--did not return a call from West Virginia Public Broadcasting to confirm that detail.
On social media, pepperoni roll aficionados have come down pretty hard against Sheetz for its decision. After the public outcry, Sheetz then invited Rogers and Mazza's Bakery to a meeting this Thursday to discuss the future of the West Virginia pepperoni roll.
— Hoodster (@WVUfan84) July 28, 2015
@sheetz ordering my last pepperoni roll from Sheetz until they bring WV rolls back.
— NoahSalvatore (@NoahTSalvatore) July 28, 2015
— Jeff Campbell (@JeffCampbellWV) July 28, 2015
@sheetz getting pepperoni rolls from Pennsylvania is like getting pierogies from West Virginia.
— Jeff Campbell (@JeffCampbellWV) July 28, 2015
— David Eplin (@davideplinwv) July 27, 2015
@sheetz low blow, Sheetz. If you won't be supporting local businesses and selling Mazzas pepperoni rolls, I'll take my business elsewhere.
— Michaela Martin (@michaelafmartin) July 27, 2015
@sheetz When I come home to WV, I go to Sheetz for my pepperoni roll. Not anymore! Shame on you for getting rid of Rogers & Mazza.
— Bridget H (@Firefly729) July 27, 2015
@sheetz please don't outsource pepperoni rolls. WV delicacies deserve to be produced in WV by WV bakeries.
— Alex O'Donnell (@n_alexodonnell) July 25, 2015
— Danny Glover (@Danny_Glover) July 27, 2015
— KellyLand (@Spacedstar) July 28, 2015
According to most sources, the Country Club bakery in Fairmont is credited with inventing pepperoni rolls around 1937. But many North Central West Virginians know the stories that their grandparents told them- that for years pepperoni rolls had been made by Italian coal miners' wives, who sent pepperoni rolls with their husbands as they went to work for long hours, down into the mines.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article stated that the pepperoni roll became the state food in 2013. A House Concurrent Resolution in the state legislature was introduced that same year, but was never passed.