Interview with Mr. Pretzels' CEO Carmine Di Fruscia

Date

Aug 21, 2019

The following is an interview with Carmine Di Fruscia from Retail Insider Magazine on May 8, 2018

Mr. Pretzels Expands into New Markets as it Sees Explosive Growth in Canada

By Mario Toneguzzi

The expansion of Mr. Pretzels locations in Canada is taking place at an accelerated pace as the snack food brand has moved into the very populated southern Ontario region and is now also focusing its growth ambitions to unique locations with high traffic volumes.

The company currently has 40 stores opened with another 25 coming within the next six to eight months.

Carmine Di Fruscia, president of Mr. Pretzels in Canada, told Retail Insider that places like hospitals, universities, airports and subway stations are ideal locations for the company to set up shop and sell its pioneering brand of aromatic soft pretzels baked in a variety of flavours.

Recently Mr. Pretzels launched in the Glen Hospital in Montreal.

“If there’s enough traffic we’ll expand to that location,” said Di Fruscia, adding that universities too will be potential prime locations. Two subway stations in Montreal are also locations that have opened up for the company recently with potential for more growth there.

“Our primary focus is in malls. We’re fully into expansion. We’re growing,” he said. “Our product is in demand. People love it.”

The first store in Ontario was opened a few weeks ago in the Conestoga Mall in Waterloo.

“It’s going phenomenal and we have a few more coming in. We’re opening eight in Ontario in the next three to four months and continuing our growth in Calgary. In Calgary, we’re opening at CF Chinook Centre next week. We’re opening Medicine Hat. Lethbridge. The New Horizon Mall (just north of Calgary in the Balzac area). This is all coming within the next few months,” said Di Fruscia.

Toronto locations will be at Yonge and Eglinton, Dufferin Mall and Oakville.

“It’s a big move for us,” said Di Fruscia of the company’s expansion into Ontario and particularly the southern part of the province.

“It’s funny. When we did our growth, we started in Quebec and then moved our way out West. We left the centre part out of it. We did Vancouver. Then we did Calgary. We did Edmonton. We did Winnipeg. This is all last year. Now this year we’re hitting hard in Ontario.”  In the last seven months, it has opened three stores in Ottawa.

In an interview last fall with Retail Insider, Di Fruscia, said “there’s no limit” as to how many locations the company will eventually operate in the country, saying it could do at least another 150 stores within the next two years.

The brand operates, along with franchise partners, in over 300 stores in close to 20 countries in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, the Caribbean and North America. It opened its first location in 1994 in a kiosk in Puerto Rico.

The company’s founder is Luiz Penna.

Canada’s first location was opened in Place Vertu shopping centre in Montreal four years ago after Di Fruscia met the founder of Mr. Pretzels at that time.

Using only the finest quality natural ingredients, the pretzel dough is prepared on the spot, hand-rolled in front of customers. The pretzels are low in fat and contain no preservatives.

One of the company’s successful marketing efforts is its samples that are available to potential customers. It believes when customers get a taste of what it’s selling, they are hooked.

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