A 2007 Sun-Times article still available on the Lawndale website here explores the many dilemmas of this site where the store provides many tangible benefits to the community yet still has been unable to break even up to this point.
This undertaking provides an interesting laboratory to the many aspects of inner-city business as ministry.
After 11 years, Lou Malnati's in Lawndale hasn't made a penny hawking gourmet pizza on Chicago's working poor West Side.
In fact, the tiny joint at Ogden and Archer has lost about a million bucks since it opened, and it will probably come up another $100,000 short next year. Still, proprietors say the place is a success story -- even if it is written in red ink.
Born in a partnership between the Chicago area pizza chain and Lawndale Community Church, this Malnati's was never about making money anyway. The business plan calls for spending all the restaurant's profits, if there ever are any, on helping to make crime-ridden Lawndale a better place. And Malnati's created a job- training program for residents of the church's recovery home, Hope House, that helps recovering drug addicts and ex-cons get back in the working world.
Chicago Sun Times, January 2, 2007Read whole story here.