In the Sauce Brands looking to franchise Avivo Brick Oven Pizzeria

WICHITA — When Tony Suellentrop announced the opening of Avivo Brick Oven Pizzeria in NewMarket Square in 2005, he told Have You Heard? he expected to franchise the business. Now, it looks like that’s about to finally happen.

“This is probably longer than we thought,” says Suellentrop, who is director of brand management for Wichita-based In the Sauce Brands. That’s the franchisor for Gambino’s Pizza, Hero Deli and Huey’s Smokehouse BBQ.

There are 50 Gambino’s restaurants in five states, two Hero Delis and three Huey’s Smokehouses.

Those brands “took away some of our time, but now we’ve turned our focus back to Avivo, and we’re going to pursue this concept,” Suellentrop says.

“We think at this time that we are … ready to explore franchising because we think the return on investment is a good opportunity,” he says of Avivo.

He says business at the Avivo in NewMarket Square is “actually getting better each year.”

Suellentrop says he believes there’s investment money out there and that people are waiting for the right opportunities. He says his group is talking with several potential franchise groups in several areas.

So how close is a deal?

“That’s always the magic question,” Suellentrop says.

He thinks the earliest something could happen would be six months.

“We think Wichita’s most likely to happen the quickest,” Suellentrop says. “We’ve always thought that … this market could support another store, and so we have been actively looking at locations recently on the east side.”

Ten to 12 months is more realistic for other franchise deals, he says.

“We also are looking to sign agreements for territory development in the next 12 months as well,” Suellentrop says.

He says he’ll keep us posted.