NORWAY — When Ari’s Pizza and Subs abruptly closed its doors July 15, after 29 years in business, many in the area were shocked and saddened.

After a tremendous outpouring of support from the community, owner Chris Farrar and his wife, Josee, decided to reopen the Main Street shop five days a week, not seven. The tentative date is Monday, July 25.

Chris Farrar said this week the 100-hour weeks prompted the decision to close the business he started in 1987 at the age of 19 to provide for his family.

“It’s not a financial decision, it’s a family decision,” he said. “I was working a lot. I was tired. At my age (48), the 100-hour weeks need to stop. … I’m not 19 anymore. “

“He’s worked 30 years and never had a day off,” his wife said.

Often the couple would arrive at 6:30 a.m. to make the dough, bake the bread and other goods and get the restaurant ready for the day and wouldn’t leave until after closing at 9 p.m.

Josee said their grandchildren are growing up fast and they want to spend more time with them.

“My kids grew up in this restaurant with me,” Farrar said about his son, Jordan, and daughter, Amanda. “My grandkids are here some.”

The couple said the sudden closing wasn’t planned. When an employee didn’t show up for work and others wouldn’t cover, he decided to call it quits.

By Monday afternoon, 207 people shared the Facebook post and there were many who offered support, well wishes and memories of the restaurant.

“The community support has been unbelievable,” Josee said. “We have been so blessed with so many people who have loved Ari’s. … We can’t believe how many people have reached out.”

The community’s reaction weighed heavily on Farrar’s mind over the weekend, he said.

“I feel like I’m letting people down, even when I see those posts I feel like I’m letting people down,” he said.

The couple said they felt torn about their decision and turned to God.

“I’ve been praying and asking God for help,” Farrar said.

The couple met with their pastor Tuesday morning to talk about life and the restaurant. Shortly after the meeting, they decided to reopen the business.

“The restaurant is more to me than money. … I’m not ready to quit, Josee’s not ready to quit,” Chris said.

The business will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“I think we’ll enjoy it better,” Josee said. “We do love our jobs. We very much enjoy cooking and making food and giving it to people and knowing they’re having a good meal.”

Farrar has already embraced his new motto.

“My new menus are going to say, ‘Thank God it’s Friday,’” he said, laughing.

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