Company seeking local investors

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Gloria Jean's Coffees, a Midwest-based specialty coffeehouse company, hopes to expand into suburban Milwaukee – particularly Waukesha – through franchising its brand name and concept.

The company is looking for investors to pay franchise fees and set up additional stores in the city, said Brian Balconi, president of Retail Food Group USA, Gloria Jean's parent company. Currently, the nearest Gloria Jean's location to Waukesha is inside Southridge Mall in Greendale.

Franchise ownership is the model of expansion for Gloria Jean's used by Retail Food Group, Balconi said. The company does not own any of the nearly 60 Gloria Jean's stores in the country, according to a franchise registration statement filed in October with the state Department of Financial Institutions.

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The franchise documents said each new Gloria Jean's store or kiosk will require a total investment ranging from $181,150 to $434,850, including an initial franchise fee of $1,750 to $30,000.

Those stores would predominantly operate in leased locations, typically in regional shopping malls, such as the Greendale location, but could open in suburban lifestyle centers, strip centers and as stand‐alone stores as well, the documents said.

Balconi said he didn't have any specific Waukesha sites in mind, but said he wanted to focus the company's growth efforts in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas because that's "the place and origin of the brand."

"Waukesha fits nicely into the plans," he said.

According to the company's website, there are six Gloria Jean's stores in Wisconsin, including the Southridge Mall location. The other stores are in Green Bay, Madison, Appleton, La Crosse and Baraboo.

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