Domino's Pizza provides La Junta and Arkansas Valley with new food and job opportunities

James Bartolo
LA Junta Tribune
Michelle Bailey cuts the ribbon at the Domino's Pizza Grand Opening on Memorial Day. La Junta's new pizza chain is located at 1 Conley Road.

La Junta’s latest chain restaurant, Domino’s Pizza, has made a splash in the Arkansas Valley as it continues to bring jobs and commerce to the area.

Currently, Domino’s in La Junta has 23 employees, but is looking to reach 50, Regional Director Scott Gates said. Current employees include sales representatives, delivery drivers, cooks and management positions. The increase in employment is something La Junta Mayor Jeffri Pruyn said will be significant for the city.

“Especially those types of jobs, I have already talked to one or two people who work another job but they need to make extra money and so they are driving for Domino’s on nights and weekends,” Pruyn said. “I think that has been a nice addition. I mean it's going to get a lot of kids through the summer.”

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The unemployment rate in Otero County was as low as 4.3% to start 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate reached a high of 8.4% in July 2020, according to Federal Reserve Economic Data.

In April 2021, Otero County’s unemployment rate was 6.3%, just under the state average rate of 6.4%.

“There are quite a few jobs available, but we have surveyed the town numerous in my eight years on council and definitely jobs are always at the top of the list of what people want,” Pruyn said. “That and economic development.”

Located at 1 Conley Road off U.S. Highway 50 in La Junta, the location is the first Domino’s in Otero County and the 18,000th Domino’s store worldwide.  

“Typically when you are doing economic development, big box, big-chain names don’t even look at your town unless you can say you have more that 10,000 population,” Pruyn said. “We can only say we have 7,000 within the municipality, but we service between 30,000-50,000 people, because we are the only hub.”

Chain restaurants found in La Junta are often the only of their kind found in the entirety of Otero County. Residents in towns like Kim in Las Animas County or Springfield in Baca County also make weekend trips to La Junta, Pruyn said.

Domino's in La Junta delivers to areas within a 7 to 10 minute drive time.

“We track our comments every day and so far just a very positive reaction in La Junta,” Domino's Gates said. “... A lot of people are driving in from all the other towns like Rocky Ford and Las Animas. We are just seeing a very positive reaction to our brand and our product.”

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Before Domino’s Pizza’s arrival in La Junta, its closest presence to towns in the southeastern corner of Colorado were in Pueblo and Trinidad.

“Everybody around here, new food is the thing,” Pruyn said. “When Taco Bell came, they did a soft opening on New Year’s Eve and people sat for an hour and a half in the drive-up window and they ran out of food which was horrible for them … If you get new food or something people can’t get here, boy they go crazy.”