The owners of the newest pizza place in Lindon have come a long way to serve fresh Italian pizza to Utah County residents.
Husband and wife Tharson and Caroline Goh both grew up in Indonesia, on an island off the northwest tip of Australia. They moved to Utah mid-winter in 2000. It was quite an adjustment, but has been a very successful one for the couple and their family.
They opened Marco’s Pizza at the beginning of March on State Street in Lindon.
The new Lindon location has the distinct pizzeria aroma of herbs and spices. Though there is not many eat-in spots there, the fast casual eatery still offers take and go. Straddling some stools there a few weeks ago in the early hours before opening, the Gohs excitedly spoke of their love for pizza and running a business.
After graduating from college in Australia, Tharson Goh worked for as an engineer in Singapore before moving here to work along Silicon Slopes. He still works full time, but he and his wife wanted to add “business owners” to their titles as well.
Pasquale Giammarco, a native Italian, opened the first Marco’s Pizza store in 1978 in Oregon, Ohio. From there, he added more locations until franchising the concept across 900 stores in about 35 states. The brand prides itself on dough made fresh daily in each store, a proprietary sauce recipe and a blend of three never-frozen cheeses.
Tharson Goh first experienced pizza years ago as a college coed while living with an Italian family in Australia, so when he and Caroline were looking at pizza parlor options, he knew what he wanted. Before opening their first Marco’s Pizza in 2014 in Riverton, the Gohs traveled to the nearest franchise location at the time: Las Vegas.
It was a team effort stepping into business ownership that first time, but it was equally driven by both husband and wife. Tharson Goh had recently earned his MBA and wanted to start a business. Caroline Goh wanted more to do.
“My two kids were older and I needed to do something. I didn’t want to just stay at home,” Caroline Goh said.
“So I said, you run the business, and I’ll keep my job,” Tharson Goh added.
Ironically, around the time the Gohs were building out the Riverton store and planning for its grand opening, Caroline Goh became unexpectedly pregnant. It threw a new level of difficulty into the already hard work of opening and running a business, but they made it work.
“It was tough, but it’s always tough,” she said.
She and Tharson continue to deal with whatever difficulties arise because they enjoy providing growth and opportunity for employees. For many teenagers, Marco’s is their first job, and the Gohs enjoy teaching them to work hard.
“We also want to contribute to our society and build the community. We’ve had so many good experiences, I just feel we need to give back,” Caroline Goh said.
Caroline Goh oversees both the Riverton and the Lindon locations, traveling between them on a daily basis. She often drags her youngest, who is now a 3-year-old, and at this point, has grown up surrounded by pizza ingredients, ovens and smells.
“She now greets customers with a happy, ‘Welcome to Marco’s!’” Caroline Goh laughed.