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Three partners are growing their Philly Pretzel Factory franchise
(Photo Credit) Madison Poticher, left, 18, of Mohnton, and co-owner Paula Wenger twist pretzels at the Philadelphia Pretzel Factory in West Lawn. The store is the second for Wenger and her two partners, who also run the store in Muhlenberg Township.
The Philly Pretzel Factory has been around since 1998. And James Lake was there at the start.
Lake, 41 of Spring Township, co-owns two stores in Berks County. Back in the day, he attended college at East Stroudsburg University with company founders Lenny Lehman and Dan DiZio.
"In 1997 Len told me that he and Dan were going to purchase an oven and open a pretzel bakery," Lake said.
Then in 2006 he met up with DiZio at college homecoming weekend. By that time, Philly Pretzel Factory had grown to about 35 stores, and DiZio told Lake the company wanted to move into the Reading area.
That started the wheels turning for Lake, his sister Paula Wenger, 44, and her husband, Andy Wenger, 44, both of Spring Township.
One problem: All three were busy with full-time jobs. Lake and Andy Wenger work in law enforcement, and Paula Wenger is a middle school teacher in the Wilson School District.
Paula said when all three went home to Bucks County for Thanksgiving in 2006 they decided to visit some Philly Pretzel Factory stores.
"We went to visit four stores on Black Friday and just sat there and watched as people went in and out," she said. "We immediately knew this was too good of an opportunity to pass up."
In July 2007, the trio opened a store on the Fifth Street Highway in Muhlenberg Township.
Their original plan was to open one in Spring Township, but at the time another franchise owner had claimed a right of first refusal on that territory.
The business was slow at first, but as more people tried the pretzels, business picked up and the location became successful. (To continue reading article, click here)
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