Potbelly Sandwich Shop announced that it has signed a franchise agreement for the development of 13 new shops across North and South Carolina. The deal with entrepreneurs Brent and Michele Brouse includes opening shops along the eastern section of the states, as well as in nearby inland markets. The first of these locations will be at 2515 S. 17th St. Unit A in Wilmington.
The deal marks the brand’s entry into South Carolina and its continued expansion in North Carolina, where it has five total locations. There are four in Charlotte and another in Morrisville, with a shop set to open soon in Durham.
“Brent and Michele are perfect examples of the type of highly qualified entrepreneurs with restaurant industry experience that Potbelly is attracting,” says Alan Johnson, CEO of Potbelly and the architect behind the brand’s growth. “They are an impressive couple and a fantastic fit to expand Potbelly in the Carolinas. Both are extremely passionate about developing the brand.”
As part of their agreement, the Brouses will develop shops in Fayetteville, Jacksonville, and Wilmington, North Carolina. Likewise, they will open shops in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head, South Carolina.
“We’ve been die-hard supporters of the brand for many years. This is an opportunity that we’re well prepared for and we know the markets that we’re expanding into are clamoring for Potbelly,” says Brent, a Chapel Hill native, military veteran and experienced restaurant industry executive, spending several years at highly regarded Lettuce Entertain You, Inc. “Ever since living in Chicago and working in the restaurant sector, we have been eyeing the Potbelly franchise opportunity. With the brand’s increased focus on multi-unit franchise expansion, now was the right time to become franchisees.”
The Brouses reside in Wilmington and together have strong professional backgrounds that suit them well for the Potbelly franchise investment. In addition to his restaurant industry experience with Lettuce Entertain You, Inc., Brent has spent several years in finance. Michele’s professional experience includes planning large-scale tradeshows and conventions.
Beyond the 13-unit deal in the Carolinas, Potbelly is generating widespread interest in its franchising initiative. The brand has recently signed agreements for new development in the Tampa and Las Vegas markets. These agreements, when fully built out, will amount to 38 new shops, and will nearly double its franchise footprint.
“Skilled entrepreneurs like Brent and Michele are attracted to Potbelly because of the remarkable loyalty of our customers, the high-quality and fresh ingredients, flexible footprints and attractive markets available across the United States,” adds Peter Ortiz, Vice President of Franchise Development for Potbelly. “We have a fantastic opportunity to collaborate on expanding into new markets and to build off of this momentum in the months ahead.”
As Potbelly grows throughout the United States, the brand is awarding franchise opportunities to qualified multi-unit groups who are looking to add another potent concept to their portfolios. Currently, there are more than 450 corporate and franchise Potbelly shops in the United States.