WORTHINGTON — Worthington's Pizza Ranch restaurant, located at 1132 Oxford St., has been purchased by new owners.

Newly appointed general manager Brady Groeneweg explained that for him, Pizza Ranch is a family affair — Groeneweg's uncle, Adrie Groeneweg, founded the first Pizza Ranch in Hull, Iowa in 1981.

"I've grown up in Pizza Ranch my whole life," Groeneweg said. The Orange City, Iowa native started busing tables as a preteen, including at the Worthington location on occasion. He eventually worked his way to assistant general manager of the Sioux Center, Iowa Pizza Ranch.

After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa last spring with a degree in marketing and management, Groeneweg began planning his future.

"I was praying a lot that God would direct me to something I loved," he reflected.

The perfect opportunity came when his dad, Scott, and two of his cousins, Spencer and Ross, purchased the Worthington Pizza Ranch and decided that Groeneweg would take over as general manager.

Another cousin, Trenton Groeneweg, was already the assistant general manager at the Worthington location, but Brady had more management experience, so everyone agreed that he would mentor Trenton and prepare his cousin to eventually be a GM at another Pizza Ranch location.

Since taking over May 18, Groeneweg said business has been growing rapidly. One of the first things he did was re-interview every staff member, so he could get to know their strengths and where they need more training, as well as give them an opportunity to be heard about anything they felt was relevant. He established with each employee that Pizza Ranch isn't just a group of coworkers, but a family.

Groeneweg emphasized that Pizza Ranch was founded on Christian values, and he plans to make that priority evident in his management. The company's vision is "to glorify God by positively impacting the world," Groeneweg shared, which manifests in how both employees and guests are treated. His favorite part of the job, he said, is serving customers.

Groeneweg looks forward to continued growth in the years to come.