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Rolling in Dough

Do you go with original butter & salt or almond crunch? Decisions, decisions . . .

After six years of owning a slow-growing shoe business in a shopping mall, Mike Jacobs decided he needed a change. "A friend of mine opened a Wetzel's Pretzels [in the mall] and started making all this money," says Jacobs. Inspired by her success, Jacobs, 44, researched franchise locations in San Francisco's East Bay area.

Within two years, he had his first Wetzel's Pretzels franchise at the Stone Ridge Mall in Pleasanton, California, opened in May of 2000. The following month, he opened a second location--at the Sun Valley Mall in Concord, California. Jacobs, who plans to open his third Wetzel's Pretzels store this October, is delighted with the way business is going. "I'm probably making three times as much money as I did four years ago, I don't have to work as much, and I live a much nicer lifestyle," he explains. "These stores are a lot of fun to work in. When somebody comes in to buy a pretzel, they're really happy about it."

The secret to his success? "We try to do it right--to make sure everyone gets an excellent product and excellent service," Jacobs says. He believes providing good customer service means building a great crew. That's exactly what he's managed to do at his Pleasanton location, where he's had no turnover in two years. And that service ethic has generated sales of $1 million.

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This article was originally published in the June 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Rolling in Dough.

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