Business Columns & Blogs

Bits of Business: Which Wich eatery seeking franchisees

Which Wich wants to be in the State College area, and is looking for franchisees.

Yes, you heard that right.

Which Wich, a Dallas, Texas-based casual chain known for design-your-own sandwiches, recently announced that its expansion plans include the town-and-gown community.

“If you’ve been in one, you know it’s a completely different experience,” Which Wich director of franchise development Connie Alires said. “Instead of walking in to see a person behind a counter you walk into an ordering pod, and you’re in control of the process from the time you step in. Our hosts walk you through the process where you can pick from 50-plus toppings to customize your sandwich. You pick not only what you want, but how much you interact with staff, which gives you control of your environment and experience.”

She said a franchisee would need a minimum of $150,000 in liquid assets, a net worth of at least $500,000 and would have to agree to open two eateries.

“We look for multiunit owners to sign a two-store development agreement, because they will not just be running a mom-and-pop shop,” Alires said. We are looking to grow and network, and the great thing about State College is it is a two-horse town. It can support multiple locations.”

Alires said the ideal development would be for at least one of the potential restaurants to be on Penn State’s campus or just across the street from campus in downtown State College.

There are currently no Which Wich restaurants in Pennsylvania, but there are more than 300 eateries in 37 states as well as some international locations.

Which Wich restaurants are typically 1,400 to 1,800 square feet, have about 50 seats and employ 20 to 25 people.

Switching hands

Bright Horizons Family Solutions, based in Massachusetts, announced last week that it has acquired Pennsylvania-based Hildebrandt Learning Centers, which managed two Penn State owned child care centers, one of them in State College.

The overall purchase includes 40 child care centers in the state and Mid-Atlantic area. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Bright Horizons,” Hildebrandt CEO Bill Grant said in a statement. “ ... They will be able to provide the children, families and clients that we serve with additional resources and support that will only serve to enhance what we have built over the years.”

Bright Horizons, according to a Penn State press release, is honoring the university’s contracts with Hildebrandt and retaining teachers and administrators with their established wages and benefits. The university’s contract for management ends June 30, 2016.

“We have long respected Bill Grant and the Hildebrandt Learning Centers team and are excited to welcome the educators and leaders from Hildebrandt to the Bright Horizons family along with the children, families and clients they serve,” Bright Horizons CEO David Lissy said. “... Their like-minded commitment to support employers across a broad array of industries makes this an excellent match for Bright Horizons and a welcome addition to our family.”

Relocate, recharge

Mount Nittany Health’s relocation and expansion of its Penns Valley practice is underway.

The medical group decided in the fall that it needed more space for its growing business.

The medical practice will move from 4570 Penns Valley Road to the site of Jersey Shore State Bank’s Spring Mills branch, at 3635 Penns Valley Road. The move will give the practice about 11,700 square feet.

“At Mount Nittany Health, we regularly assess how we meet community needs, and we felt expanding in Penns Valley allows the opportunity for staff growth and services to meet the community’s needs,” executive director and chief medical officer Anthony Cardell said. “We recruited several family doctors already, and we’re looking for an additional family practitioner.”

The space will have onsite laboratory services, radiology services, 16 expanded exam rooms, space for community education classes and room for future growth.

Construction will begin in June and should be complete in the fall.

The bank will continue to operate as normal.

No more pretzels on the go

Black tape has blocked off Pretzels Plus in the Nittany Mall.

Owner Brad Eline and mall manager Polly Welch did not respond to requests for comment.

Employees in stores near the eatery said it went out of business.