Covelli excited about Panera sale


Staff report

WARREN

The largest Panera Bread franchise owner is very excited about the recent $7 billion sale of Panera to JAB Holding Co.

“I know that JAB shares many of the same values that have made our company successful, such as integrity and a deep respect for their employees, which are the most important asset in any business,” said Sam Covelli, owner and CEO of Covelli Enterprises in Warren. “I also know that JAB is highly supportive of Panera’s vision for the future and the importance of franchise groups like Covelli Enterprises in executing that vision and continuing to grow the brand.”

Covelli Enterprises has more than 300 Panera bakery-cafes in six states.

JAB, a Luxembourg investment fund, already has controlling interests in Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co., Stumptown Coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

If and when the deal closes, Panera will be a privately held company not required to file quarterly financial reports for investors.

Covelli says in the short term nothing will change at his Panera locations.

“Over the long term I feel we will become an even better brand,” he said. “By becoming privately held, Panera will not have the expectations that are put on a publicly traded company by Wall Street. Becoming a private company will allow Panera to be exclusively focused on what is best for the customer, not the shareholders. It will also allow for a focus on growing the business for the long-term.”

Covelli sees a bright future ahead for both his company and Panera.

“As long as we can give our guests the quality experience we are giving to them currently, we will continue to grow,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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