SBDC Client Open New Donatos Franchise in Erie

Christine Vogel wanted to open a new pizza parlor in the Erie area in 2014. She decided that a franchise would work best for her but she wanted a unique pizza parlor that would be unique to Erie. She originally decided that Monicle Pizza might be a good fit. However, after further research and dealing with the franchisor, she elected to not open this franchise.

By the end of 2015, Vogel determined that Donatos Pizza would be a better fit for her as well as the community. Donatos, which began franchising in 1963, is based in Columbus Ohio. The name is a play on a Latin phrase meaning “to give a good thing.” Vogel’s franchise is the first located in Pennsylvania. What makes Donatos unique is the menu items offered and how they make the pizza (thin crust loaded with pepperoni and other toppings). Their dough has won awards in the industry and they use only the highest quality food such as real Wisconsin cheese (never processed).

Vogel needed $400,000 to start the business and her bank referred her to the Gannon University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to have a loan proposal prepared with financial projections and business plan.

Her loan was approved with an SBA guarantee and she officially opened on October 18, 2016 in the new Greengarden Place Plaza. She currently has 35 employees and is planning to open two more franchises in Erie County once this first one becomes established.