New Panera Bread owners promise Dayton-area expansion

Warren, Ohio-based Covelli Enterprises, the largest franchisee of Panera Bread restaurants with locations in five states and Canada, announced this morning that it has purchased 11 Dayton- and Springfield-area Panera locations, and said it has “aggressive growth plans” for the Dayton market.

Covelli Enterprises now owns more than 100 Panera Bread cafes in the Buckeye state. The company bought the 19 existing Panera Bread franchise restaurants in the Columbus-area market at the end of 2010. By the end of this year, that number of restaurants will have risen to 39.

Liz Fiorino, spokeswoman for Covelli, said in an interview this morning that the company is not promising that level of growth in the Dayton-Springfield market, but said Sam Covelli, owner/operator of Covelli Enterprises, “likes to grow in areas that we move into.

“We’re an Ohio-based company, so it’s important that we grow in Ohio,” Fiorino said. “Our promise is to bring friendly faces, clean stores and operational excellence” to the Dayton market.”

Covelli said in a news release, “We’re very proud and excited to expand our business right here in Ohio where we are headquartered.”

The local stores were purchased from Columbus-based Breads of the World, which still operates Panera Bread bakery-cafes in Denver and Colorado Springs. The stores included in the transaction are located in Dayton, Springfield, Beavercreek, Troy, Miami Twp., Kettering, Butler Twp., Centerville and Sugarcreek Twp.

Covelli Enterprises operates bakery-cafes in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida and Canada, and employs more than 35,000. In 2013, the company donated more than $19 million to non-profit organizations and hunger relief agencies in the communities it serves.

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