Philly Pretzel Factory to open first Texas location
Fri, 2015-12-11 05:00 News Staff
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Phil and Mesha Agnello of Belton are bringing the first Philly Pretzel Factory in Texas to Copperas Cove.
Phil said the idea for opening a franchise in their former town began unexpectedly.
“My cousin owns five (Philly Pretzel Factories) back home in New Jersey. We went to visit in April of this year and we worked in the store when one of his people called in sick,” Phil said.
He and his cousin started talking about possibly doing something like this together, after which the company’s CEO approached his cousin about opening a franchise in Texas.
Agnello said he and his wife thought this was something they could do on a daily basis, and it would be fun.
“I’m a people-person anyway,” Agnello said, adding that he’s been in the car business for 17 years.
The store will be located in a leased retail space at the Copperas Cove H-E-B Plus!, and has its own dedicated entrance. Right now Agnello said they’re busily figuring the floor plan and store configuration. It will be primarily a takeout store, with possibly a few tables.
The 800-square-foot store will have six to eight employees, and Agnello said he and his wife will be involved in the day-to-day operations. If all goes as expected, Agnello foresees opening locations in Killeen and Belton in the future.
For the Copperas Cove store, he plans to start interviewing possible employees in January, and within the next week or so, putting up posters, menus and other information at the store site.
The Philly Pretzel Factory has a projected grand opening date of February 1.
Chief Development Officer Tom Monaghan said, they’re always on the lookout for new franchise locations.
“We’re very excited to have two veterans who have called that area home for a long period of time,” said Monaghan. “For us, it’s a wonderful combination of a great market with great franchisees.”
He said locating the store in the Copperas Cove H-E-B Plus! is a great fit and had good words for the Texas company’s welcome of Philly Pretzel Factory, whose corporate offices are in New Jersey.
Monaghan said there are 155 Philly Pretzel Factory stores in 12 states, and they are preparing to open even more in the next year.
“We are currently working with franchise candidates virtually all over the state at this point,” he said. “Probably a year from now, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a dozen locations open in the state of Texas.”
The company was founded in Philadelphia in 1998 by college friends Dan DiZio and Len Lehman. It has locations primarily in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, expanding all the way to Florida, Oklahoma and now Copperas Cove, Texas. In 2004, DiZio started Soft Pretzel Franchise Systems, Inc., franchising the Philly Pretzel Factory Brand.
The menu offers traditional Philly style pretzels as well as pretzel twists, mini pretzels, rivets, pretzel dogs and cheese steak pretzels. The pretzels are hand twisted and prepared at each store daily. The stores also sell their own brand of mustard and the pretzels themselves are made from a proprietary blend of flour.
On April 26 each year, the stores given away one free pretzel to every customer on National Pretzel Day. The company works with groups for fundraising and donations for events, and also has a catering menu.