Pizza Inn trio have more than 75 years combined experience


Ethel Matherly (left), Debbie Arnold (center) and Sue Hampton have each worked for the local Pizza Inn for at least 25 years.
  By Greg Miller

  gmiller@starhq.com

  Ethel Matherly, Sue Hampton and Debbie Arnold have each worked for the local Pizza Inn for at least 25 years.
  Matherly and Hampton, Arnold says, "are like family to me. If I had to quit working here, it would be like leaving family.
  "They are both real different. Ethel loves to tell stories. She's the storyteller here. She's got a hundred of them. Sue's like the mother here. She keeps everybody in line. I love them both. I've enjoyed working with both of them.
  "This is the place I like to be, where I want to be. It's not just the people I work with; it's the customers. A lot of them are the same faces over and over, and I appreciate and enjoy them, too."
  In addition to the friends she has made, Arnold enjoys the fast-paced aspect of her job. "That's what I like," she said. "I wouldn't want a job that was slow-paced or boring. I like to stay busy.
  "I think we work more as a team when it's busy. You really have to. When it's slower, you kind of work on your own, but when you're busy, it's more a team thing. Maybe that's part of why I like it so well when it's fast. This place is always busy. It's always rocking."
  The restaurant's owners, Tim and Jan Broome, "are great people," Arnold said. "I really enjoy working for them. They've always been good to us."
  The Broomes, Matherly and Hampton say, are "wonderful" bosses.
  Matherly and Hampton, who are cooks at the restaurant, say that they try to be good examples for the younger workers. "I help anybody that I can," Hampton said.
  Attendance is one of the ways that they set examples. "We really don't miss sick days or anything," Hampton said. "We work pretty good. I mean out of all those 25 years, I doubt if we've been out sick a hundred days, if it's been that many."
  Jan Broome recalls an incident from years ago, when her brother and his friend were working at the restaurant. "Ethel was cleaning the dough mixer," she recalled. "They turned it on, thinking that they were going to be funny, and Ethel's arm got caught in the dough mixer. Her arm got all mangled, and she was out for several months. Other than that, I can't remember any time either one of them has been really out for any length of time."
  "I like making the dough, and I can get out here and carry these pizzas out and meet all of these dear people," said Hampton, whose favorite pizza topping is BLT. "I have people from everywhere, from Florida, and all around that come and I still remember what kind of pizza that they like when they come in and eat. It just cracks them up because I remember what they like. "
  "Sue and Ethel work together really good, but they're just like any other sisters," said Jan. "They bicker and fight between each other, but they love each other immensely. That's what makes it fun. We pick on them when they are getting aggravated with each other."
  "We don't do anything alike," said Matherly, whose favorite pizza topping is pepperoni.
  The sisters enjoy working with Arnold. "Debbie is just fantastic," Matherly said.
  Hampton says that she promised Tim that she would continue working at the restaurant until the Broomes' daughter, Andi, 5, begins working there. "I said, 'That's high hopes, Tim,' but that's what I want to see," she said.
  "We'll have them as long as they will be here," Jan said. "As long as they will show up for work, we will have them, and it doesn't matter in what capacity. We love Sue and Ethel, and they are like family, so as long as they want to come down here they have a place."
  Andi, as well as Jan and Tim's son, Drew, help out at the restaurant. "It hasn't been too long ago that I brought them in and we were eating," Jan said. "Andi got up and went over to a table that had two police officers at it who were eating lunch. She said, 'This is my Pizza Inn, and I want to know if everything's good. Is everything okay?'"
  While anchovies are the least favorite topping for customers, pepperoni is the number one topping of choice, according to Arnold, a manager at the restaurant. "Everybody loves pepperoni," she said.
  "Tim and Ethel told me that they were going to put pepperoni on my tombstone when I die, if I die before they do, because I holler at them all the time, 'I want pepperoni on the buffet,'" Hampton said.