Donna Conroy and Michelle Fiorenza, the first Mr. Bagel Meister franchisees, will be opening their eatery at The Pavilion in Carolina Beach, at the building that currently houses Island Java.
When Conroy and Fiorenza began seeking franchise opportunities, they contacted Emerging Franchises, a franchise development company founded locally by Greg George. George has been instrumental in the development of several local franchises such as Port City Java, Fuzzy Peach, Shuckin’ Shack, Peno Grill and Charlie Grangers.
Conroy said that while they initially considered other options, once they learned of Mr. Bagel Meister and met with founder Phil Santomassi, they were sold on the concept.
“We knew almost immediately after meeting with Phil and trying the food, that this was the best fit for us,” Conroy said. “And from there everything started to fall into place as far as the location.”
Santomassi said that while he normally might not open a franchise location in such close proximity to his flagship store at 6400 Carolina Beach Road, he feels that Carolina Beach is a perfect location, and that there will be plenty of business for both stores.
“This is something I feel that people on the island are going to embrace whole- heartedly,” Santomassi said.
Conroy and Fiorenza plan to take over the Island Java space by mid-February, and with the help of Santomassi, they will bring in the necessary equipment and begin to set up for Mr. Bagel Meister. Santomassi said he will be onsite throughout the transition, and as part of the franchisee training process, he plans to work with Conroy and Fiorenza for at least the first month of business to make sure they have everything they need to be successful.
“For us it is a huge plus to have Phil so close by,” Conroy said. “Besides the food, one of the things we were most impressed with was his customer service, and we look forward to learning from him.”
Conroy and Fiorenza plan to follow the current Mr. Bagel Meister model closely, focusing on fresh bagels and breakfast and lunch sandwiches. They will also continue to serve some specialty coffee drinks, including some of the best sellers from Island Java.
“We want to continue to provide locals with specialty coffee drinks they have become accustomed to at this location,” Conroy said. “And hopefully we can convince them to try out our food as well.”
A March 1 opening is expected at 1328 N. Lake Park Blvd.
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