Mark Eastin bought into the Incredible Pizza Co. franchise in 2009, but he’s no average franchisee.
The 37-year-old owner/operator of the Springfield store, 2850 S. Campbell Ave., has worked for Springfield’s Incredible Pizza Co., started by his father-in-law Rick Barsness, since January 2003.
After a year as manager of six departments and 150 staff members, Eastin spent two years as an account manager at Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Co. before returning to Incredible Pizza in 2007. Eastin worked alongside Barsness during the next two years as vice president of special products, assisting in nationwide franchise store sales and marketing campaigns. He also created documentation for major business deals and vendor agreements – work that served as a segue to his $100,000 buy-in as Incredible Pizza owner/operator in January 2009.
Eastin operates the multimillion-dollar store under a corporate management agreement, with corporate offices handling payroll and accounting, and assisting with food and game-room control – key differences from a franchise agreement.
In his first year at the helm, Eastin invested roughly $400,000 in laser tag, 3-D theater and children’s play area attractions at the Springfield store, which employs about 50.
“When creating this team, I have learned to teach by example through demonstrating commitment and initiative,” Eastin says. “Finding out how my team can improve and showing a genuine interest in my co-workers by taking an interest in their lives and their opinions are ways in which I have created a team of people that can work together seamlessly.”
Eastin’s passions are directed toward children, evident not only in his company’s business model and in the organizations supported by Incredible Pizza, but also on the home front. He and his wife, Ashley, are parents to three girls, one of whom was adopted out of foster care.“(We) believe every child deserves a family to love,” he says.
Eastin is personally involved with the Adoption Exchange Missouri chapter and Emmanuel Ministries in Juarez, Mexico.
“Children are the future of our country, and by helping them through organizations such as the Boys and Girls Town, YMCA and Rivendale Learning Center, we are giving our future a chance to succeed,” says Eastin, a graduate of Ozarks Technical Community College and Glendale High School. “Through my business, Springfield’s Incredible Pizza Co., we have had the opportunity to work with many of the children in our community by giving them a place to have fun during difficult times in their lives.”Click here for full coverage of the 2011 40 Under 40.