The PBS host, along with business partner Harold Patrick and unnamed investors, recently purchased the rights to open at least 37 Marco's Pizza franchises in the Indianapolis area over the next five years. His first restaurant opened in April.
That restaurant currently employs around 20 people. Smiley hopes that by the time the other 36 franchises are up and running, they'll have created about 1,000 new jobs. And his high expectations for the business don't stop there. He believes that over the next 20 years, it'll pump at least $1 billion into Indiana's economy. How's that for influence?