Auntie Anne’s, the world’s largest soft pretzel franchise, was started by Anne Beiler in 1988 who sold her pretzels and lemonade at a farmers market in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Through hard word, and ton of recipe experiments, “Auntie” Anne was able to create the perfect pretzel. By 1989, the first Auntie Anne’s store opened for business at Saturday’s Market in Middletown, Pennsylvania and quickly grew to 100 stores by 1992.
Although Auntie Anne’s is most famous for their pretzels and lemonade, in 2003 Pretzel Stix (in both original and cinnamon) were added to the menu and in 2004, Pretzel Dogs (made with Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs) were introduced.
In 2005, “Auntie” Anne and Jonas Beiler, Auntie Anne’s founders, decided to sell the business and devote their lives to opening a family counseling center. Soon after, in 2006, Auntie Anne’s rebranded their logo and image and instilled a promise of “Pretzel Perfect”, which resulted in their annual Free Pretzel Day. By 2009, over twenty years after its first inception, Auntie Anne’s opened their 1,000th store in Fresno, California.
In 2010, Auntie Anne’s joined FOCUS brands, pretzel nuggets and a partnership with Food Donation Connection began, which works to connect Auntie Anne’s stores throughout the country with local hunger relief programs in order to donate surplus pretzel products. In an additional effort to contribute to charitable organizations, a partnership between Auntie Anne’s and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was formed, which raises money for childhood cancer research, prevention and treatment.
Most recently, Auntie Anne’s expanded to food trucks and amusement parks (2013), store redesigns and the “My Pretzel Perks” loyalty app (2014) all while continuing to expand their menu and into new markets and venue types.
- Part of FOCUS Brands group of companies. Click here for the CREHQ profile of FOCUS Brands and links to the other companies.
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