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The 1980’s

Gumby’s Pizza was founded by Chance Hippler and Jeff O’Brien. Gumby’s Pizza began in Gainesville, FL on October 26th,1985. Chance and Jeff decided to drop out of the University of Florida and take a shot at opening a pizza business. Since “Gumby” was Jeff’s nickname in college, they tracked down the creator of the character and secured the national rights to use Gumby and Pokey. The first location was at 15 SW 2nd Street. Although they had no clue what they were doing, through hard work and some breaks, that first location became very successful.

In 1986, they decided to expand to other college towns. The second location was at FSU in Tallahassee.

The 1990’s

The 1990’s saw Gumby’s Pizza extend a further footprint North And West.The chain expanded it’s menu during this period to include it’s World Famous Pokey Stix and Pepperoni Rolls.

Gumby’s Pizza would gain national fame when, in the early morning of June 14, 1991, a student at Florida State University, broke into the Florida State Capitol Building, barricaded himself in a wing of the building, and made a list of demands to police. With SWAT teams and snipers surrounding the capitol, the standoff lasted for hours. Although his list of 10 demands included a CNN news crew, a case of beer, doughnuts, and a police scanner, number one on his list was a Gumby’s Pizza 20” veggie with extra jalapeno. Over 5,000 of those pizzas were ordered within days throughout the Gumby’s Pizza chain.

The 2000’s

The 2000’s began with new locations within current states as well as expansion into Pennsylvania, Missouri, Iowa, and Texas. The company began selling franchises throughout the country along with opening locations in non-traditional venues. Gumby’s was repeatedly on the Pizza Today Top 100 chains in the country throughout this period. With so many stores scattered across the country and Chance being a pilot, Gumby’s purchased a corporate plane to travel to all the locations. These trips produced many adventures including almost running out of gas over North Carolina, meeting Ted Turner and Jane Fonda in the middle of the night at a remote airport, and almost making a landing at a closed airstrip with no lights!

In 2000, their flagship store in Gainesville moved to its current location at 2028 sw 34th street where today it stands proudly as a testament to Chance and Jeff’s fascinating ride. Gumby’s Pizza has fed countless college athletes over the years along with the rich and famous including country music stars Brook’s & Dunn, Sister Hazel, Drake, Dave Matthews Band, Emmitt Smith, Shane Mathews,and MC Hammer.


Chance and Jeff still reside in Gainesville, FL and are avid Gator fans and boosters. On October
26th, 2015 they celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Gumby’s Pizza. The company is in full
expansion mode, under code name “Operation Gumby”, to continue opening locations by way
of franchising and joint ventures. The goal is 1,000 units by October 26th, 2025 “, the 40th
anniversary of Gumby’s Pizza. They still enjoy the passion and drive they had as kids in their
first restaurant. Since opening the first location in Gainesville, total sales from Gumby’s Pizza
locations has exceeded $1,600,000,000.00($1.6 Billion)