En route to Reno-Sparks: Philly-style soft pretzel franchises
A Philadelphia phenomenon is coming to the streets of Reno and Sparks.
Operators of Philly Pretzel Factory have targeted Reno-Sparks as a prime location for as many as six franchises in the next year. The region’s size and rapid growth, as well as its coveted youth market, make it a natural for selling pretzels, they say.
“Your population growth is unheard of, and your youth market is a huge opportunity,” said Tom Monaghan, chief development officer for Philly Pretzel Factory based in Bensalem, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia.
“I was shocked to see the under 18 age is 24 percent of the population,” he said. “It’s our largest market share.”
Currently, Philly Pretzel Factory, with its signature soft pretzel, operates one location west of the Rockies, in Las Vegas, among its 173 stores in 19 states.
But that will change fast, Monaghan said, citing two additional locations in Southern Nevada as well as four to six in Reno and more in other states across the West except for California, which he said is “not a very franchise-friendly state.”
He said the company is seeking potential franchisees, at a typical investment of $290,000 per location.
He said the goal is to have sites operating in the first half of 2018 in stand-alone stores, or stores within stores such as what you see in Walmart, as well as possibly inside area casinos and in kiosks at Greater Nevada Field and other sports and entertainment venues.
The stand-alone stores typically are 1,000 square feet in size, with 10-14 employees, Monaghan said, with the average customer buying as many as 30 pretzels at a time for $10 to $15.
Monaghan said Philly Pretzel Factory also is growing a business-to-business market by selling its pretzels to hospitals, hotels, schools, auto dealers, real estate agencies and other clients to use in fund-raising or presenting to their clients.
It all helps promote the brand, he said, adding, “It’s more than just coming into a store. It puts our pretzels into the hands of as many people as possible.”
Philly Pretzel Factory was started on a Philadelphia street corner in 1995 by founder Dan DiZio and his college roommate, Len Lehman, according to the company’s website.
Each year, the company sells more than 125 million pretzels and assorted flavored pretzels, including sausage and cheesesteak, and Monaghan said that will grow with new outlets in 2018, including Reno and Sparks.
“It’s one of our target markets,” he said. “Your standard of living, your climate, we love it.”
The $33.2 million parking garage project at UNR, being worked on by Clark/Sullivan Construction, marks the first piece of development that would eventually link the southern end of campus to the downtown core.