Industry News | February 19, 2009

NexCen Merges Pretzel Time and Pretzelmaker

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NexCen Franchise Management Inc. has announced that it will combine Pretzelmaker and Pretzel Time, its two mall-based pretzel concepts, beginning this April. The initial phase of the consolidation will aim to transition Pretzel Time locations to the Pretzelmaker name. Subsequently, most Pretzelmaker locations will be treated with a new logo and store design. The brands are managed by NexCen Franchise Management Inc., a subsidiary of NexCen Brands Inc.

The consolidation of Pretzel Time into Pretzelmaker will create the second largest soft pretzel brand in the U.S. with over 365 locations across 47 states and four countries outside of the U.S. In April, NexCen Franchise Management will begin to convert approximately 30 Pretzel Time stores a month into Pretzelmaker units. This will be followed by an initiative to update existing Pretzelmaker locations with the new logo and store design. NexCen Franchise Management has already converted seven Pretzel Time locations in several domestic test-markets. So far, the responses from mall developers and franchisees involved with early conversion and development have been positive.

"Each concept is an innovative brand in its own right, but the integration will provide our franchisees with the benefits that come with being a national brand," says Chris Dull, president, NexCen Franchise Management. "After much consideration, it was decided that the Pretzelmaker name better represents the artistry of pretzel-making, while also communicating the quality and freshness of the brand."

Sean Falk, a multiple store franchisee in Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan was one of the first owners to bring a new Pretzelmaker into his mix of Pretzel Time locations. "Integrating to one brand will make our pretzel franchise that much more successful," says Falk. "The Pretzelmaker design brings our concept up to date. It's modern, warm and more welcoming than our current design."

Since 1997 Ali Shah has owned Pretzel Time locations in the brand's flagship state of Connecticut. Shah participated in the initial test marketing and converted one of the first five franchised Pretzel Time locations into a new Pretzelmaker-a store that has been in the same space since 1992.

Though both brands have locations coast to coast, Pretzelmaker which was established in Utah and has a greater concentration of stores west of the Mississippi River, while Connecticut-born Pretzel Time is predominantly located throughout the Eastern seaboard and Mid-America. An important step in integrating the geographically separated brands will be updating locations with a new store design.

New stores and remodeled locations will feature signage with the new red, white and black logo. Walls will be painted with earth tones and flooring will be set with terra azul tiling. Store features will be accented by new recessed lighting.