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Philly Pretzel Factory sells Selma's crispy rice treats, among other goods. 

Credit: Freda Zhao

Philly Pretzel Factory, “Home of the Real Soft Pretzel,” recently opened a new location at the heart of Penn’s campus on the 3700 block of Spruce Street.

The franchise is the world’s largest Philadelphia-style pretzel bakery, with over 100 locations. The store near The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia had to close down in June. Construction on the new location began in December, and the store opened last week.

Katie Bertelsen, who has been a partner in Philly Pretzel Factory for three years and worked in the corporate field for Ben and Jerry’s for 15 years prior to that, said, “The Ben and Jerry’s on 40th has done well thanks to the appetites of Penn students, so [we thought] why not open near there?”

Indeed, the company picked a good spot. The store has not even been open for a full week but they’ve been received very well, Bertelsen said. 

Marty Ferrill, President of Philly Pretzel Factory, said the new location experiences a lot of traffic. “We do a lot of catering out of our business, as well,” Ferrill said. “Our pretzel platters are great for school campuses.”

Even with an Auntie Anne's on 34th and Walnut streets, because they offer such a wide array of snacks, including platters, candy, trail mixes and other treats, the “grab and go” snack store has little competition in the area, according to Bertelsen.

“There are no direct competitors for pretzels specifically, especially the Philly style that we serve,” Ferrill said. “Any snack category could be potential competition, though.”

Store workers and locals alike have been excited about the opening.

“I love when a customer finds us and walks in the door and is so excited,” Bertelsen said. “We’ve had quite a few happy dances when they walk in the door.”

In the future, the company hopes to find a boardwalk location to replace the one in Lenox City that they closed at the end of last summer. They also hope to extend their weekend hours beyond 12 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays to capture the hungry crowds on late weekend nights.

Currently, the brand is working on networking, and is giving out free samples.

“It’s a great product. That’s what separates our pretzel from others,” Ferrill said. “It’s hand-twisted made fresh every single day. I’m really excited about all the students and other people around to try our pretzels.”

Correction: A previous version of this article indicated Philly Pretzel Factory is located at 39th and Spruce. It is located on the 3700 block of Spruce. The DP regrets the error.

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