Passersby to a familiar pizza place on Grand River in East Lansing
may have noticed that something has changed. After 19 years, Gumby’s Pizza is now Goombas Pizza
, due to the business savvy of owner Gail Sutton, who found that paying the royalty fees on a name that wasn’t paying out in and of itself.
“The dialog about the name change began over the declining name recognition of the cartoon character himself,” says Sutton. “After …19 years I know that most of our customers are college students who are increasingly more familiar with Gumby because of the pizza place and not vice versa.”
With that being the case, Sutton created her own fun character to represent the business with “Goombas.”
“A goomba is slang for a friend, a buddy or an associate,” Sutton says. “Not in the mob, but perhaps connected to it! Hence, the fedora. It's all about a friendly, fun, family atmosphere.”
Fans of the restaurant will be glad to know that the name and mascot are the only things changing about the business, which will serve the same food and retain the same employees – which means a lot to Sutton.
“I'm a diehard Spartans fan and love working with and around the students,” she says. “I care about the unemployment situation in Michigan and the name change means keeping more Michigan workers employed. I support local businesses and my primary food suppliers are all based in Michigan.”