After nearly 17 years of owning and operating Auntie Anne’s, Inc., founders “Auntie” Anne and Jonas Beiler have sold the company to President and C.O.O. (and second cousin), Sam Beiler for an undisclosed amount. A definitive purchase agreement between the parties is currently in effect, with finalization taking place on or before March 31, 2005.

Auntie Anne and Jonas Beiler launched Auntie Anne’s, Inc. and christened the first Auntie Anne’s Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels® store in 1988. The popularity of Auntie Anne’s pretzels grew first by word of mouth, and then, through franchised locations. Today, the privately-held franchisor supports 850 locations in 43 states and 12 international territories.

“Throughout the succession planning process, we had several options to consider. The option that we pursued was one that offered the greatest stability, leadership continuity, and preservation of the company’s established philosophies. We have the utmost confidence that this will be accomplished under Sam Beiler’s ownership,” says Anne Beiler.

Sam Beiler has been engaged as a hands-on leader of Auntie Anne’s, Inc. for the last several years. He began his relationship with Auntie Anne’s in 1989, as a franchisee. Joining the company in 1991, Sam played an important role in establishing Auntie Anne’s corporate regional presence, first as the company’s Southeast Regional Director and then as Midwest Regional Director. In 1997, Sam moved to corporate headquarters as vice president of store operations. He took the role of president and COO in August of 2001, and oversaw the strategic growth and development of the Auntie Anne’s franchise system and internal management of the company.

“It’s just the beginning for Auntie Anne’s. We will continue to build and extend our brand, while creating enhanced value for our stakeholders and maintaining the giving spirit that personifies Auntie Anne’s,” says Sam Beiler.

As the company’s founder, Anne will still have a relationship with the company. Her image, likeness, and story will remain an integral part of the Auntie Anne’s brand.

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