Covelli plans Canada growth
WARREN, May 23, 2012 (Menafn - Vindicator - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Covelli Enterprises announced plans for a sizable expansion in the Canadian market Thursday with Panera Bread.
The company opened its first international Panera Bread location May 10 in Oakville near Toronto. This is one of many the company plans to open in the country in the next few years, said Sam Covelli, owner and operator of Covelli Enterprises.
"I am extremely proud that our first international cafe broke the opening- day sales record for Panera Bread," he said. "We owe our ability to grow and succeed to the incredible support we receive here at home. We are thrilled to bring what we started here in the Valley over 50 years ago to the people of Canada."
Covelli Enterprises plans to open three additional Panera Bread locations in Canada in the next year, said Liz Follet, regional marketing director for Covelli Enterprises.
After the first year, the company expects to build an additional five to seven stores in 2013, Covelli said. There will be larger- scale expansion in 2014.
Covelli Enterprises owns the rights for Panera in a large territory in Canada from Niagara Falls to Windsor. There are 8 million people living in Toronto, and that does not include surrounding cities such as Hamilton, he said. The size and population leaves significant room for expansion.
The Canada expansion efforts are part of 30 new Panera Bread stores that Covelli Enterprises will open this year, Covelli said.
There also will be additional expansion locally with two previously announced locations on the Ohio Turnpike and another planned in Boardman. The Boardman location will have a drive-through, he said.
It most likely will be on Market Street, Covelli said.
"A location hasn't been determined, but it's pretty close," he said.
"The people there [in Canada] love the concept. They were really impressed," Covelli said.
The Mahoning Valley is where everything started for the company. The corporate base will remain here, and any expansion will benefit the area, Covelli said.
The company already has had to hire bookkeepers and accountants to keep up, he said.
"We expanded, and we're already at our maximum," Covelli said. "We're looking for more space to expand."
Covelli Enterprises was selected in 2011 by the corporate owners of Panera Bread to develop the brand internationally with the first Canadian cafe locations. The expansion is expected to add several bookkeeping and accounting jobs to the Warren headquarters.
Covelli Enterprises is the largest franchisee of Panera Bread and O'Charley's.
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