In 1993, Chestnut Land Company founder Ed Muransky was attending the ICSC convention in Las Vegas. While at the convention, Ed was curious about a line of people that had formed around a small booth. Always interested in potential investments, Ed went to see what the line was all about. Soon thereafter, Ed was sampling a delicious product called Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzels. Anne Beiler, the founder of Auntie Anne's who created her pretzel perfection at a farmers market stand in Downingtown, PA in 1988, was also attending the ICSC to showcase her product.
After tasting those pretzels in Las Vegas, Ed and Anne began to build on a relationship that resulted with Ed deciding to become a franchisee with Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzels. After conversations with Anne, Ed decided to establish his first Auntie Anne's location at Florida Mall in Orlando, Florida, one of the busiest malls in the country. After finding success at this initial location, Chestnut began adding a few stores each year starting with Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg, Florida and Southern Park Mall in Ed's home town of Youngstown, Ohio.
Chestnut Land Company continued opening a few stores each year ending 2008 with 28 stores in six states. Understanding the power and potential of the Auntie Anne's brand, Ed's vision is to diligently explore all avenues of expansion and take full advantage of those opportunities. Ed hired Chris Sammartino in 2009 as Chief Operating Officer with the charge to take Chestnut to the next level. Chestnut established six new stores in 2009, 11 new stores in 2010, and 13 new locations in 2011. With the completion of our expansion plans in 2013, Chestnut Land Company became the largest Auntie Anne's franchisee with 65 locations in 14 states. With our continued growth into 2014 and 2015, we are projected to be at 76 locations in 16 states.
Ed believes in surrounding himself with the right people that allows the company to grow aggressively, while maintain quality and efficiency. Chestnut has raised the bar for performance in our store managers, who routinely are top rated for customer satisfaction in the Auntie Anne's system. Chestnut Land stores are above average in sales for similarly situated stores in the Auntie Anne's system.
Ed believes in encouraging the development of relationships and it shows in the camaraderie that is shared with our Landlords, Auntie Anne's Corporate Office Staff, and the employees of Chestnut Land Company. Ed lives by three facets of business: every person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, be true to yourself and your vision, and act based upon the facts surrounding your vision.
More than 20 years after Anne Beiler developed her concept at a small farmers market in the rural Amish country of Pennsylvania, Auntie Anne's now franchises more than 1,200 locations in 46 states and 23 foreign countries. Auntie Anne's has varied pretzel products, pretzel dogs, and dips, along with its signature lemonade and various other drink options.
Auntie Anne's and Chestnut Land Company are very focused on building on the visions of Anne Beiler and Ed Muransky to give back to the community. Chestnut Land Company stores have participated in raising funds for Children's Miracle Network, First Book, and currently, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. Our employees are also committed to making a difference in their local communities by volunteering their time and financial assistance to various local causes. A core principal of Chestnut Land Company continues to be Ed's philosophy of treating all employees like family and to “Do the Right Thing When Nobody is Looking.”