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How a Pretzel Craving Turned Into a Franchising Opportunity Lorrie Leary and Mike Coon could not have guessed that searching for pretzels to snack on would lead to them becoming franchisees.

By Kate Taylor

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Franchise Players is Entrepreneur's Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email

Lorrie Leary and Mike Coon were just searching for pretzels to buy online when they stumbled on a franchising opportunity that would change their lives. While Philly Pretzel Factory does not ship pretzels, the duo discovered that there were franchise opportunities available in Florida. The rest, as they say, was pretzel history.

Name: Lorrie Leary and Mike Coon

Location: Philly Pretzel Factory inside the downtown Walmart in Winter Haven, Fla.

How long have you owned a franchise?

A few months now.

Related: Why This Franchisee Relocated to Open a Sandwich Shop

Why franchising?

I really never thought about opening a franchise. I missed being able to get a pretzel and I went on the website to see if the pretzels could be shipped. When I discovered that it wasn't currently an option to ship them, but there were franchise ownership opportunities in Florida, the rest became pretzel history.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

Mike is a funeral director at the family owned and operated Crisp-Conn Funeral Home. Lorrie was a surgical tech and stay-at-home mom.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

We love Philly Pretzels. There is nothing better than a fresh, hot, soft pretzel. The product sells itself. Philly Pretzel Factory is an awesome company, everyone there wants you to succeed. From other franchisees all the way to corporate, help and answers are available.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

The cost to open a Philly Pretzel Factory in a Walmart is between $157,550 and $212,100 with a $25,000 initial franchise fee.

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

Being from South Jersey, I (Lorrie) was already familiar with the Philly Pretzel Factory brand, so I knew how delicious the pretzels are. We saw the "Undercover Boss" episode, and we really felt like Philly Pretzel Factory was a company we would like to get involved with.

Related: Moving Up the Ranks From Mover to Franchisee

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

I had never owned or managed a business, so this is all brand new to me. I am learning how to be a fair boss, while still able to get my employees to provide fantastic customer service and fresh hot pretzels. Philly Pretzel Factory has a great corporate team that provides help and resources.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

Research location and learn about the area you serve. Also, take your time hiring. The right staff makes all the difference.

What's next for you and your business?

We would like to open more Philly Pretzel Factory locations in and near Winter Haven.

Kate Taylor

Staff Writer. Covers franchise-related trends and topics.

Kate Taylor is a staff writer covering franchises for Related areas of interest include chain restaurants, franchisee profiles and food trends. Get in touch with tips and feedback via email at or on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor. 

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