Toppers’ fundraiser to help family of deceased worker

At Toppers Pizza employees are called teammates, and one local Toppers location lost a valued member of its team when Laron House died suddenly and unexpectedly of unknown causes.

Laron, who was only 28, left behind a 4-year-old daughter and a mother who was helping raise her, and so his teammates at the Toppers in Fitchburg, a corporate store where Laron worked, have put together a fundraiser on Friday, Aug. 5, to help the House family.

Andrew Rock, manager of the Toppers location at 6291 McKee Road, says 20% of carryout, delivery, and in-store sales from 4 to 9 p.m. that day will be donated to help the family. The money raised from the fundraiser will be put toward helping Laron’s daughter as she grows up, including her education and other financial needs.

Laron was a valued member of the Toppers team, working as a prep cook for the restaurant. Rock says the Toppers gig was one of two jobs Laron worked, and he was in the store every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning preparing the pizza dough that would be used on the busiest days of the week for this Toppers location — Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Using 50-pound bags of flower, he would make five batches of dough in the morning before leaving to work at a local Goodwill store located right next door to Toppers.

“He had to make enough dough and be at Goodwill by 1 p.m., and there was never a day he had to stay later or leave without finishing everything,” Rock recalls. “He was just a super hard worker.”  

House’s untimely death came as quite a shock to his coworkers. He will be remembered as a fun person to work with, a gregarious man who was quick with a smile and who loved to crack jokes with coworkers and customers. “He lit up the store every time he came to work,” Rock says.

Those who want to place an order and make a contribution for the House family can place an order though the Toppers website (www.toppers.com) and search to find the Fitchburg store, or call 608/274-4444. Most of the franchise’s pizza orders are placed online and can be made on any computing device.

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Permission for the fundraisers was granted by the Toppers corporate office, which is headquartered in Whitewater, Wis. The pizza franchise, founded by President Scott Gittrich, is one of the fastest growing “better-pizza” chains in the U.S., doubling in size over the last three years. Available franchises completely sold out in only three states, and most are owned by multi-unit franchisees.

Toppers’ business model — indeed its brand promise — is different in that its customizable pizzas are baked in about 360 seconds and available for pickup and delivery much faster than the customary 15 minutes for carryout and 30 minutes for delivery.

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