Pretzels with a Purpose: The Role of Christianity in the Auntie Anne's Brand
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Lindeman, Leslie Ann
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Auntie Anne’s began in 1988 as a single stand selling pretzels at a farmers’ market in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. In its early years Anne Beiler, the company’s founder, instilled in the workplace her sense of Christian evangelism and ethical consumerism. She considered her employees and franchisees friends and, in ways, her extended family, united in building a business founded on Christian principles and dedicated to good works. Her cousin Sam Beiler, the company’s second owner, introduced several new directions for the company, but largely followed the founding vision, though without the public zeal of his cousin. Under the leadership of Anne and Sam, the company attracted faithful employees and customers who felt as if they were contributing to a greater good by working in the company or consuming its product. But in 2010, Sam sold Auntie Anne’s to FOCUS Brands, a large corporation under the parent company Roark Capital Group that owns a number of large restaurant chains. Now that Auntie Anne’s has become part of a corporation seeking profits, the business embodies the tensions and contradictions between Christianity and capitalism. The business has maintained its success through the perception that the Auntie Anne’s brand has a higher purpose beyond profit. But the company has fallen short by failing to put the founding Christian principles into action.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2013
- F&M Theses Collection