Little Caesers turns 50

May 8, 2009 at 8:25 PM

DETROIT, May 8 (UPI) -- The Little Caesars pizza chain celebrated its 50th anniversary Friday with a bash attended by thousands of employees and franchisees.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm declared the day as Little Caesars Day in Michigan.

Mike and Marian Ilitch opened their first Little Caesars restaurant in Garden City, Mich., May 8, 1959. Today, there are about 2,500 Little Caesars pizza outlets, located on five continents and in every U.S. state, the Detroit Free Press reported.

"I believe the heart and soul of Little Caesars is our caring attitude," Mike Ilitch told party attendees. "Caring has been a part of my business plan and rewarded me and in so many ways … I love you all!"

Franchise owners Jason and Scott Zieman of Akron, Ohio, said the Ilitches are a big part of the brand's longevity.

"Unfortunately, you see a lot of people who give up and the Ilitches never did that," said Jason Zieman.

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