The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday January 20th

Pretzel Store Readies to Open Doors

Katie's Soft Pretzels, to be located at 125 E. Franklin St. next to the Varsity Theatre, will be taking the place of Maui Smoothies. "Mostly we're keeping it as it was," said owner Christopher Stott. "We'll be keeping the smoothies, but the main feature will be pretzels."

The store is part of a chain started by two Carrboro entrepreneurs 10 years ago.

Stott, who lives in Carrboro, already owns two pretzel shops in Durham. He has been affiliated with the pretzel chain for eight years.

The store will feature at least nine different types of pretzels and seven different dipping sauces, he said.

Stott also said the stores are popular for their drinks, featuring freshly squeezed fruit ades and iced tea.

He said nearby businesses are excited about the new store and have been asking about the opening date. "I'm very pleased there's some anticipation -- it's ready-made business," Stott said.

Because it is a locally operated chain, many people in the Triangle are familiar with the idea of a pretzel shop, Stott said. "We've had some following from the sororities and fraternities as far as catering goes for rush," he said.

Stott says many of the pretzel eaters are just looking for a cheap meal. The pretzels will cost about $2 or less.

Stott said he is especially excited about the opening his third store because of its position near the college.

"We have been trying to get a spot on Franklin Street for some time," he said as he took a break from remodeling the store.

Robert Humphreys, Chapel Hill Downtown Commission Executive director, said Stotts' excitement is understandable but warned that the location is no guarantee for success. "There are a lot of factors that work against businesses on Franklin Street -- not the least of which is high rent."

Humphreys estimated that rent can cost a business $4,000 to $8,000 a month, not including additional utility costs.

Stott said he thinks the size of the store will not be a problem because preparing the food in the front window makes for an eye-catching sight.

He said, "People see us rolling the dough and hand-squeezing the juices. ... There's a holistic quality to the store that brings people in."

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