Pretzel Shop at WEM Offers New Twist on Quick-Service Foodby Bill Mah
Edmonton, AB – The longest lineups at West Edmonton Mall these days aren’t for the latest high-tech device or blockbuster movie — but for hot, freshly baked, soft and doughy treats. Wetzel’s Pretzels, a Pasadena, Calif.-based chain, opened its first Western Canada franchise at the mall on March 14 and staff at the kiosk on Level 1 in Phase 3 have been kept busy rolling in the dough. Nestle marketing executives Rick Wetzel and Bill Phelps were on a business trip to Seattle in 1994 when they came up with the idea of pretzels as a new snack-food business. A passerby told them fresh-baked pretzels were delicious. They named the company after a schoolyard taunt Wetzel endured while growing up. In November 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that the privately held empire had 263 franchises with 3,000 employees, 12 company-owned stores with 150 workers and $107 million in annual sales.