Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Brad Beaverson, a 44-year-old York, PA native was a stockbroker by day and pretzel aficionado by night.
Brad worked for a brokerage firm for seven years alongside Philly Pretzel Factory CEO, Dan DiZio. Seeing DiZio’s success, and wanting to break from his career as a broker, Brad decided to join Philly Pretzel Factory and opened up his first location in 2002 in Bryn Mawr, PA. He has since sold that location, but in 2006 opened one in Upper Darby, PA and one in the 69th Street Bus Terminal in 2007.
Brad, along with his partner Matt Simon, are currently working on opening a first-of-its kind location in Montgomery Mall. This particular location is unique as it’s the first Philly Pretzel Factory to open up in a mall and be co-branded alongside Rita’s Italian Ice, a Philly staple.
Technology has also played an unprecedented role with this particular location. After a couple of years of prototyping different ovens, Philly Pretzel Factory was finally able to reduce the size of the equipment they use to bake their delicious pretzels, allowing them to branch out into smaller locations and further develop the brand.
How did you learn about the brand?
I worked alongside Philly Pretzel’s now-CEO Dan for a while when we were both stockbrokers. I’ve seen the evolution of the brand since the beginning.
Why did you choose an opportunity with Philly Pretzel Factory?
This has been something in front of me and I saw DiZio’s vision firsthand. I know how he ran things the hours, and the overall feel and potential of the company. I worked at his store before becoming a store owner to familiarize myself with the process and the inner-workings on all ends.
Why did you choose a mall location?
With a mall, you get a lot of foot traffic. My other location is in a transportation terminal so that particular store has gotten a lot of great business due to the sheer amount of people that pass by it.
The other piece of it is new technology. Philly Pretzel Factory was able to downsize the oven the used to bake their pretzels, something they’ve been working on for the past couple of years. Before this year, the oven was seven feet wide, so franchisees needed bigger spaces to accommodate all the equipment. Now, we can downsize our operations and get away with 400 square feet as opposed to 1500 square feet. We test piloted these ovens at places like the Philadelphia Zoo and we saw how well it worked. So over the last 12 months, we were able to start incorporating the new technology into our concepts. By making the oven smaller, we’re able to progress and evolve into bigger things.
What challenges have you overcome to get where you are now?
Owning a small business is not an easy task. There are tough times when you’re trying to pay your bills and market the locations. I work seven days a week, 90 hours a day. Hours and affordability have definitely been our greatest challenge.
What are your expansion or development plans? What is your end goal with PPF?
If this concept works in a mall, we’d like to expand into additional malls throughout the area with the model.