East End Pizza celebrating 50 years in Tyrone community

Hard to believe, but it has been 50 years since East End Pizza started on the corner of 16th Street and Columbia Avenue in Tyrone.
The family-owned business is operated by matriarch Louise Sweitzer and her children. The business was started between 1955 and 1956 between Louise’s husband, Howard “Howd” Sweitzer and her brother, John Franchio. Shortly after East End opened in Tyrone, Sweitzer’s brother started a separate East End shop in Huntingdon while “Howd” continued the business in Tyrone. The two businesses were not connected according to daughter Judy (Sweitzer) Haverstein.
Louise, Judy and other family members sat down earlier this week with The Daily Herald to reminisce about the 50 years they enjoyed operating the shop.
Judy recalled, “It seemed to be the hot spot in Tyrone.”
She said during the days when high school and grade school students ate off-campus, they dined at the shop and played pinball and the juke box. Haverstein said in the beginning a hoagie cost 35 cents. Throw in a soda and your tab was 50 cents. Today, a East End hoagie is $3. The shop’s distributors have remained the same over the years. The Sweiters survived a fire that reduced the building to one floor, but few other changes have been made.
“Everything is made fresh everyday,” said Judy. “That’s where my mother comes into the picture. Everyday for the last 50 years, she has been very dedicated. She comes out here every morning to make sure the place is run the way it should be.
“The menu has never changed,” said Judy. “We’re proud of that.”
She mentioned that East End hoagies have traveled all over the country and beyond.
“The exciting part for all of us is when people come back here, they look for us,” said Judy. “They want to come back here and be a part of this history.”
Louise continued with the business after her husband passed away in 1974 and she said she still likes doing it.
Louise and her family are inviting the public to attend their 50th anniversary celebration later this month. The event will run from Thursday, May 25 through May 27. East End Pizza will have special hours for the celebration. Regular hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m. The shop is open Saturdays from 4 to 9 p.m. and closed Sundays and holidays.
A press release said there will be some exciting surprises in store for the 50th anniversary celebration, not to mention an old fashioned block party, live entertainment, special guests and a lot of gift giveaways.
The release noted the family’s “journey and their success” over the last fifty years would not be possible without the community. The press release asked everyone to join in the celebration and offered a “thank you” to everyone.
In addition to Judy, Louise’s other children are Brenda, Kay (Sweitzer) Spacht, Bobby and Butch. Most of Louise’s children are involved in the store operations. The store employs about 10 to 12 people.