Written by The Business Journal Staff
The Central Valley’s first Which Wich sandwich shop is set to open at Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis on Dec. 5.
The national sandwich franchise chain, which was founded in Dallas in 2003, is best known for its customizable sandwiches and creative ordering system involving a personalized bag. Which Wich currently has over 400 locations open or in development in 39 states and 10 countries.
Brian Leternauer and his wife Jessica, who live in Clovis, are the franchise owners behind the Clovis Which Wich.
“We experienced Which Wich when we were in San Diego and we loved it,” he said. “We’re excited to bring the first one to this area.”
One of the unique things about Which Wich, Leternauer said, is the way you order. Rather than wait in line, customers take a bag, write down their order on the bag with a sharpie and hand it to a Which Wich employee who will prepare their sandwich.
With 60-plus toppings to choose from, Leternauer said the combinations are endless and even vegetarians and vegans have options beyond the typical salad fixings wrapped inside a hoagie that one might find at a competitor. While the classic veggie sandwich is still an option, he said those cutting out meat can opt for a black bean patty or hummus so they can get their protein boost too. On the other end of the spectrum, there is a meat lover’s style sandwich called the Wicked.
Leternauer said it’s this DIY model and the fun atmosphere that keeps customers coming back and convinced him to become a franchisee of not just one, but soon multiple stores.
“This is our first franchise and we’re already in talks for a second one along the northeast Herndon corridor,” he said. “If all goes well, the second one will open at the end of next year or in early 2018.”
“People are excited about the brand,” Leternauer added. “I think having the first one at this location at Sierra Vista Mall, which is a regional destination, is a good start.”
Dairy Queen plans Central Valley expansion
International Dairy Queen Inc. is planning a massive expansion in Central California.
Currently, the Fresno area has one lone Dairy Queen located in the food court at Manchester Center. Mike Metler, Dairy Queen’s director of national franchise sales, said that isn’t enough for the local market, which is not only home to many Dairy Queen fans, but presents vast opportunities for the brand.
“Fresno is a big market area and we only have one Dairy Queen there,” Metler said. “We’re on national television there, yet only have the one location.”
By comparison, Metler said Dairy Queen’s direct competitors have between 10 and 20 stores in the Fresno market. To remedy this discrepancy and provide the tasty Dairy Queen treats Central Valley fans of the brand want, Dairy Queen will be bringing an initial five stores to the area, with a greater goal of having 10 to 12 stores down the road.
The timeline for Dairy Queen’s growth is slow and steady, Metler said, and the brand will focus on opening one store at a time. The first new Fresno area Dairy Queen will most likely open at the end of 2017, he said.
“It has as much to do with the quality of growth as the growth itself,” Metler said. “We’re going to focus on opening one great store. Even though we plan to have five and then grow to 10 or 12, we’re just going to focus on one at a time.”
Those interested in becoming a Dairy Queen franchisee can visit http://www.dairyqueen.com/us-en/Company/Franchise-With-Us/
“We want people who are passionate and have restaurant experience or are in real estate,” Metler said. “The market in Fresno and the strength of the Dairy Queen brand make this a great opportunity for the right franchisee and it will be good for employment and create real estate value.”
Wonderful Citrus unveils giant box of Halos building
Wonderful Citrus kicked off a record-breaking mandarin season by unveiling a new building resembling a giant box of Halos at its Delano plant Nov. 2.
The 80-foot high, 11,000 square-foot structure can be seen prominently from Highway 99.
Wonderful Citrus President David Krause said the building is a salute to the company’s most popular product and is meant to serve primarily as a billboard-like advertisement for the brand. The building is even visible at night, illuminated on all four sides so it stands out to those driving by.
“We wanted to create something iconic—a flagship—and what our internal advertising department came up with was the concept for this giant box of Halos,” Krause said.
Wonderful Citrus is known for its varieties of naval and Valencia oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, minneolas and mandarins and its produce is shipped across the globe. While some of its oranges, grapefruits and limes are grown and processed in southern Texas and Mexico, the majority of the citrus is California grown and processed. Halos, Krause said, are of the highest quality and are only grown and processed in California, in the Central Valley stretch from Madera to Kern counties.
The Halos building, he said, is not only a great marketing sign but a celebration of the California-grown product that kids and adults alike enjoy.
“This is the fourth year we’ve had the Halos brand and we wanted to celebrate the success of the brand,” Krause said, adding that mandarins, such as Halos, can now be found in one-third of households in the United States.
While the building is first and foremost a sign, its secondary purpose is as a dry goods storage area for packaging materials related to Halos. Wonderful Citrus estimates the large building could fit 130 million Halos.
While most Wonderful Halos are processed at the Delano site, Halos are also processed closer to the Fresno area at Fowler Packing in Fowler and Mulholland Citrus in Cutler.
GYMGUYZ mobile fitness training coming to Fresno area
GYMGUYZ, a New York-based home personal training franchise, is headed to the Fresno area.
GYMGUYZ recently entered the California market with the opening of a San Rafael franchise Oct. 29, and founder and CEO Josh York said Fresno is the target for the next GYMGUYZ franchise.
York said GYMGUYZ is the No. 1 fastest-growing fitness franchise in the nation. Founded in 2008, the company strives to provide convenient, customized and creative workouts to their clients at home, the office, or the setting of their choice.
“We pretty much take the extra effort out of being fit and healthy,” York said. “Everyone wants convenience nowadays; they don’t want to waste time driving to the gym and getting ready in the locker room.”
Today, the mobile brand employs a full fleet of trucks to bring state-of-the-art fitness equipment and expert coaches to their customer’s doors. There are currently 86 GYMGUYZ franchises throughout the nation and more in the works, which is significant considering they only began franchising in 2014. At the end of 2015, York said there were only 20 franchises.
York attributes the quick growth to the need for the service and the ease of opening a franchise that requires no brick and mortar. Although finding the right franchisee is still in the works, York sees a Fresno franchise opening in three short months.
Leslie Dempsey, co-owner of the San Rafael GYMGUYZ, said she and her husband are glad to spearhead the company’s growth in California.
“We’re blessed to be a part of it and a part of the first franchise in California,” she said. “I think it’s going to blow out of the water and become a huge franchise worldwide.”
GYMGUYZ provides tailored fitness programs to its clients. Services include weight loss and body sculpting, bodybuilding and weight training, cardio fitness, pool workouts, strength training, youth and teen fitness training, senior fitness, pre and post natal exercise, nutrition counseling, professional sports conditioning, therapeutic and athletic stretch, obstacle course training, kickboxing training, corporate fitness and group training.