Editor’s Note: The Claysburg Area Hall of Fame has announced its 2019 inductees for its Hall of Fame. The Gazette is highlighting each of the entrants.
Sixty years ago, Gene Caparella founded Claysburg Pizza in the building on Bedford Street that is now home to Yingling Insurance.
Several years after opening, the business was sold to Al Lestochi who operated the business with and Jean Harbaugh Showalter until August 1968. At that time, Jay Medasie and his wife Elanie took ownership of the shop. Jay began working at the business for Gene Caparella two weeks after the business opened at the age of 14 and continued as an employee until taking ownership in 1968.
On August 10, 1972, Jay, son of John and Betty (Freeman) Medasie, and Elaine, daughter of Walter and Vivian (Burket) Feather, and children Penny and Paul opened the current Claysburg Pizza location along Dunnings Highway.
Paul became involved in the family business in 1981 at the age of 11. In 2007, he and his wife Teresa purchased the business. They have two children, Samantha and Jeremy. Penny and her husband Brad Poorman live in Chambersburg and have a daughter, Arica.
In 2017, Paul was selected by the Pennsylvania Future Business Leaders of America as Business Person of the Year in Pennsylvania.
Things changed for the business since its inception.
Pizza was once 10 cents per cut and was the only item sold. Today the restaurant’s menu has expanded to include a number of different types of pizzas, strombolis, subs, wings, appetizers, and desserts that are all centered around the original dough recipe that originally made them company famous in the area.
Throughout the years the business’ reputation for quality food and giving back to the community has expanded just as their business has. In 2010, the business started helping many groups throughout Pennsylvania with fundraising. Claysburg Pizza Fundraisers have helped groups raise well over $1 million using some of their most popular menu items. The business expanded once again in 2018 with another building added to make fundraising items and wholesale pizzas and strombolis that are sold in stores.
“They’ve been around for so long,” said Tessa Knisely, chairwoman of the Hall of Fame Committee, who noted the business is celebrating its 60th year in 2019. “They’re kinda just a place you can go to after football games, after any kind of community thing. That’s a place you go to that you walk in and you know somebody.”
Knisely said the business has been a staple of the community that has continuously given back to the Claysburg area.
“One of the things that’s really great about them is they really are committed to our community,” she said.