Pretzelmaker and Pretzel Time are chains of independently owned and operated franchised stores that specialize in hand-rolled pretzels, smoothies and cold beverages. It is a franchise brand in the portfolio of NexCen Brands Inc. Along with sister brand Pretzel Time, there are more than 325 U.S. stores operating in 33 states and 50 international stores in Canada, Guam, Trinidad & Tobago, Panama, Jordan and Guatemala.
Pretzel Maker was originally named Pretzelvania by founder Jeffrey Tripp in 1991. The name of the company was changed to Pretzelmaker for nationwide franchising purposes. Charles L. Smith was the founding President of Pretzelmaker, Corporation with Bruce W. Stratford, Legal Council and CFO. J. Kelly Hansen and Stephen A. Thorpe ran the day-to-day operations as co-founders and VP of Sales and VP of Operations respectively. The brand quickly grew to more than 100 franchises sold, with 40 stores operating by 1995 when it was bought by a group of investors that helped make Pretzelmaker a mall mainstay, particularly in the West Coast. Don Cox, Marc Geman, Tony Joseph and Dale Fowler bought the company in 1995 with a small group of investors. In the next 36 months this group took the company from 11 opened stores to 288. Director of Operations Tony Joseph and his operation team were opening 7 locations a month. Mr. Joseph trained all franchisee's US wide, Canada and Seoul Korea. Dale Fowler was the Sr. Vice President of Marketing. Mr Fowler put Pretzelmaker on the map with Media articles from the top newspapers and magazines from all over the US. Don Cox was the President until he was relieved of his duties in 1998. Marc Geman was the CEO until the company was sold in 1999.
The first Pretzel Time store opened in Trumbull, Connecticut. The company was originally incorporated as Mr. Pretzel Inc. in 1991, but quickly changed its name to Pretzel Time by the time it became a popularly franchised mall-based store in the Northeast.
In 1999, Pretzelmaker was bought by Mrs. Fields Famous Brands. Later the Pretzel Time and Pretzelmaker brands were sold to NexCen in 2007 for a combined transaction total of $29.7 million. The chain acquired the now-defunct Hot Sam in 2005.
NexCen Franchise Management was bought out by GFG (Global Franchise Group) in 2010, who then merged Pretzel Time and Pretzelmaker into one brand as Pretzelmaker. Pretzelmaker today is the second largest retailer of freshly baked, hand rolled and twisted pretzels.
Pretzelmaker's line of pretzels includes 10 flavors, and a variety of dipping sauces are provided. To augment visibility of all their menu items, Pretzel Time and Pretzelmaker launched their Combo Crazy campaign in 2008, which offered customers a chance to win prizes through purchasing combos that could include pretzels, dipping sauce, and a soft drink.