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Jake’s Pizza roof collapses in Wells

Owners now wonder where to rebuild and what are other options

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Mar 28, 2021

The Jake’s Pizza building in Wells has been boarded up and cordoned off since the roof collapsed back on Feb. 24. The buckled wall is also visible in this photo on the left side of the downtown Wells building.

A landmark pizza eatery in Wells is currently closed following the events of Feb. 24.

Dawn Navara, owner of Jake’s Pizza, located on West Franklin Street, describes what happened.

“I was by myself in the building and was up front by the cash register,” she explains. “The ceiling started collapsing about six feet from where I was standing. It was very scary.”

Navara contacted her husband Steve and daughter Dana Mutschler and told them what had happened.

“By the time they got here one of the walls had started buckling,” Navara says. “We were completely surprised by what happened.”

The city of Wells has since condemned the building.

“The city has been real good to work with,” Navara states. “It is unsafe and they did a good job of roping off the area and keeping people away. We are in the process of getting the building torn down because it is a hazard.”

A 1977 graduate of Wells-Easton High School, Navara says she has long-standing ties to the business.

“I worked there when I was in high school,” she comments. “My daughter also worked at Jake’s when she was in high school.”

Navara purchased the business in 2008. It was originally owned by Joyce and the late Denny O’Rourke and has been a part of the community since 1977.

“We are hoping to rebuild but it cannot be in the same spot and it will not be a flat-roof building,” Navara says. “We looked into the possibility of getting into an existing building but nothing was available which suited our needs.”

She says the Faribault County Economic Development Authority has already reached out to see if they can be of assistance.

“I am busy getting bids on a new building and I am pricing everything we will need,” Navara explains. “Our hope is to rebuild.”

The Navara family is known in the Wells community for their donations to benefits and fundraisers. They are also members of the Lions Club.

Because of what they have done for others, an account for donations has been set up at CCF Bank in Wells.

Donations may be mailed to the bank at PO Box 310, Wells, MN 56097 or there is a Go Fund Me account set up under Jake’s Pizza.