Auntie Anne’s, one of the world’s largest hand-rolled soft pretzel franchises, recently announced retired NBA star Mark Blount as its newest franchise partner. Blount will team up with Auntie Anne’s to introduce its famous soft pretzels at both CityPlace and the Palm Beach Outlets, two premier shopping destinations in West Palm Beach, Florida. The locations are expected to open in October 2013 and February 2014, respectively.
Blount was first introduced to the Auntie Anne’s team at a Professional Basketball Alumni Association (PBAA) event. After months of back-and-forth communication, he determined that partnering with the brand made sense as his next business move.
“I was actively looking to break into the franchise industry, but I wanted to find a company that was a good fit for me,” Blount says. “I really felt that the Auntie Anne’s brand provided what I was looking for. After getting to know Mr. Dunn and the executive team intimately over the past few months, I am excited to officially join the company as a franchise partner.”
“Mark is an ideal addition to the Auntie Anne’s franchise community,” says Bill Dunn, president and chief operating officer of Auntie Anne’s. “He is passionate about the brand, and he shares our desire to introduce Auntie Anne’s to new guests, while continuing to ‘wow’ our loyal existing consumers. Mark is well-equipped to take on this new challenge, and I wholeheartedly believe he will work hard to excel in this business, just as he did on the NBA court.”
Three years ago, Dunn started the initiative to work with retired professional athletes. He understood that these business-savvy individuals often retire at an early age and may be looking for business opportunities after their professional sporting careers have ended. Auntie Anne’s currently has two successful retired athletes in the franchise system, Shaquille O’Neal and Ed Muransky, and expects to partner with more in the future.