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Pretzel, cookie chains entering market in coming months

Auntie Anne’s Pretzels will be opening eight stores in Puerto Rico by 2013.

The unmistakable aroma of freshly baked goods will be wafting through the air at several local malls, which in coming months will usher in the arrival of Pennsylvania-based Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Atlanta-based Great American Cookies, News is my Business confirmed.

They will debut their tasty treats at their first combined store that will open at the Río Hondo mall in Bayamón in August.

Auntie Anne’s has partnered with AMA Pretzels Inc. in a master franchise agreement to develop the local market, where it will be opening two stores within the next month, the one in Bayamón and another in Plaza del Norte in Hatillo.

By the end of the year, it will deliver its fresh, hot, golden-brown pretzels to two additional stores slated to open in Plaza Carolina and Plaza del Sol in Bayamón. In total, between 2012 and 2013, AMA Pretzels Inc. will be opening up eight Auntie Anne’s stores islandwide that should create about 130 jobs, company officials said.

“Puerto Rico has been an area where Auntie Anne’s has explored expanding. After successfully having a presence in a mall in Boca Raton, Fla., business contacts of AMA Pretzels Inc. encouraged them to explore opportunities in Puerto Rico,” Auntie Anne’s Director of Communications Valerie Kinney said.

AMA Pretzels Inc. owns and operates nearly 20 Auntie Anne’s stores in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Florida, and Louisiana. The franchisee is currently scouting for a general manager to oversee all of the Puerto Rico stores, as well as managers for each store location.

“The Auntie Anne’s pretzel is different than other pretzel offerings currently offered in Puerto Rico. Auntie Anne’s pretzels are made right on-site and include the steps of mixing, twisting, and baking. Pretzels are made every 30-minutes as Auntie Anne’s prides itself in serving fresh products,” she said.

The Auntie Anne’s stores — which will become the newest addition to the 1,200-store chain — will serve original, cinnamon sugar, almond, garlic, and sour cream and onion, raisin, jalapeno, and pepperoni pretzel flavors, along with the pretzel dog.

Kinney said a second store in Plaza Carolina will also pair up with a Great American Cookies store, the second franchise planning its local debut.

Great American Cookies spokesman Jason Wanamaker said the two stores opening in tandem with the pretzel chain should create between 20 and 30 new jobs.

Great American Cookies, which specializes in baked goods, features a generations-old family chocolate chip cookie recipe that has set the standard for gourmet cookie sales in shopping centers across the U.S. mainland. Its product line also includes decadent brownies.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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