HotBox Pizza marked its one-year anniversary of being in the Village Jan. 4.

Manager Suzanne Flynn, who also manages HotBox in Noblesville, said the first year has been a learning process because Muncie had not previously heard of the Indiana chain and its 16 other locations.

“It’s worked really well, being with Ball State. The students have really taken to it,” Flynn said. “Being the proximity that we are to campus has been really great, it’s just what we wanted it to be.”

Flynn said she and her husband want to open more stores, potentially in Muncie. 

HotBox has done fundraisers with several Ball State clubs and organizations and also was a sponsor for this year’s Homecoming. Current freshmen are the first class to know HotBox as a place that’s been in the Village since they have been students at Ball State.

“My thought is when the freshmen this year are seniors, that’ll be kind of a full cycle … then it’ll just be more of a 'HotBox has always been there,' so I’m interested to see what that’s like,” Flynn said.

Most of HotBox’s employees are Ball State students, including one who did a presentation on the chain for a class. Flynn said even though she has nothing to do with their education, she feels special seeing her employees move on and graduate from college.

Abbie Gregory started working at HotBox in June and is currently a shift manager. Despite burning her hand while taking a full tray of breadsticks out of the oven and having a customer steal the store’s Christmas tree, Gregory still enjoys her job.

“[The tray] was way too heavy so it started to fall, but I wanted to save the sticks, so I grabbed the tray with my non-covered hand and put it on the counter. This resulted in a pretty bad burn and I couldn't work for a week,” Gregory said.

Even though there have been some mishaps, Gregory said her coworkers make the job more enjoyable.

“My favorite part is definitely working with my coworkers. They're so funny and they make dealing with drunk people at 3 a.m. actually fun," she said.

No celebration for the business’s anniversary is being planned. Instead, Flynn is going to continue her focus of getting HotBox’s name more into the Muncie community.