Path to 1,000 stores: Franchisees Brandon Hudson & Damion Mason

College fraternity brothers partner to build pizza empire

Marco's Pizza franchisees Brandon Hudson, foreground, and Damion Mason assemble a pizza on the counter in back of a Marco's..

Marco’s Pizza franchisees Brandon Hudson, foreground, and Damion Mason.

Business partners Brandon Hudson and Damion Mason were one of four candidates in the running for Marco’s 1,000th location. The two met at Virginia State University and became friends while pledging the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. Their first venture together was in the mental health field several years after college when Brandon reached out to Damion, who was looking for some more meaningful work.

The two hit it off as business partners, helping each other grow personally and professionally, both in their own ventures as well as other ventures together.

“The biggest thing in partnerships is trust. Just because you are friends does not mean you can be in business together. It is a very rare thing,” said Brandon.

Then, along came Marco’s Pizza. Brandon and Damion were looking to diversity their business ventures outside of the mental health field and decided to look at a QSR franchise.

Damion has a Marco’s Pizza about five minutes from his home. It was good pizza and they were hooked. So, the two researched Marco’s and figured out there were franchise opportunities available. The two attended a Discovery Day and liked what Marco’s had to offer.

“The venture worked within our budget and framework. We loved the food,” said Damion.

 “This is a brand we want to grow with, and with COVID-19, pizza sales are through the roof. We are positioned right for the moment,” said Brandon.

“It is a family environment. They care about people more than pizza. We liked that it is a people-first organization,” said Brandon.

This feeling was further cemented as racism and injustice against the African American community escalated after the death of George Floyd.

“We are aligned with a brand that cares about African Americans. After the death of George Floyd, I reached out to President & COO Tony Libardi. Through that conversation, it solidified for me that we are with the right brand. He listened and cared about what was going on,” said Brandon. Brandon and Damion are both interested in helping the brand grow and further diversify its franchisee base.

Brandon and Damion have two Marco’s Pizza locations, with their third slated to open later this year in Richmond, Va. When they are not working or giving back to the community, they are very invested in spending time with their families.

“Both of us have four children and we’d like a location for each one,” said Brandon. “If we pass eight stores, we’ll have to have more kids,” he said.  

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