Then – as they say – life happened.
After living in Huntsville, Alabama for years, they relocated in 2014 to Sarasota, Florida. They decided Karen would spearhead the day-to-day operations for their franchise because of her supply chain and logistics expertise, and Michael would handle financial matters. With that foundation in place, they began searching for franchise brand to invest in. A take-and-bake pizza concept appealed to them and seemed like a solid choice. After conducting some due diligence, they made the decision to book airfare and accommodations in Las Vegas in order to commit to the brand at an upcoming franchise exposition.
Today the brand has more than 20 locations throughout the Southeast, including Florida, Alabama and Georgia and focuses on high-quality, delicious and beautiful chocolate creations that are perfect for personal or corporate gifts, custom baskets, private parties, and more.
In order to make sure the covered all their bases, Karen went last minute to a small local franchise expo in Tampa, just a quick drive from Sarasota. That day trip changed their trajectory.
“I tasted Peterbrooke Chocolatier’s chocolate covered pretzel twists at the Southeast Franchise Expo in Tampa and, honestly, never looked back,” Karen Andrews said. “I just loved the chocolate. I met COO Jeff Smith at the event and peppered him with questions. The rest is history, as they say.”
“We never did end up going to Las Vegas,” she added.
Karen and Michael Andrews opened Sarasota’s one and only Peterbrooke Chocolatier shop downtown in November 2017, in time for the holiday season. That initial location enjoyed success, but Karen and Michael wanted more. That’s when Karen, Michael and the leadership team at Peterbrooke Chocolatier’s Jacksonville headquarters worked hard to find alternative real estate.
In mid-July 2019, the Andrews moved from downtown and celebrated the opening of their brand new location in the Lakewood Ranch/University Park area of Sarasota.
“It’s going great,” Karen said. “Our new shop is twice as big in the front and three times as big in the back, which gives us lots of room to spread out at parties and have a better inventory system, which all translates to a more enjoyable experience in our Peterbrooke Chocolatier shop. I can’t wait for the holidays because it will be gorgeous in here!”
The new shop is located at 8105 Cooper Creek Blvd and has plenty of parking in a big open-air center that features a wide variety of merchants in addition to Peterbrooke including TJ Maxx, Party City, Total Wine, a new PGA golf store and Bonefish Grill, among other restaurants.
“So many people have already come in and told us that our new location is so much better,” Karen said. “Downtown proved to be a long drive for many of our customers and they often could never find a place to park – or they’d have to walk so far in the heat.”
Karen works full-time in the shop with support from seven part-time employees and Michael on the financial front.
“He’s the most supportive person you can imagine…he makes sure the books and taxes are all done right and on time – and he even cooks dinner every night!”
“We are tremendously excited about our new location and look forward to supporting new customers and old friends that stop in for a visit and want to see what’s new,” Karen said. “We couldn’t be happier and more fulfilled.”
For more information about becoming a Peterbrooke Chocolatier franchisee and experiencing your Dream Franchise in Chocolate, please visit peterbrookefranchising.com. Today the brand has more than 20 locations throughout the Southeast, including Florida, Alabama and Georgia and focuses on high-quality, delicious and beautiful chocolate creations that are perfect for personal or corporate gifts, custom baskets, private parties, and more.