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Last Update: Saturday September 18, 2021

Key Idea: Find An Angel

Anne Beiler believes if you give, you will receive. She found an angel investor when bankers refused to make her a loan for expansion. More...

Key Question:


Find one who understands and likes your product then give them the same financial statements you would take to a bank.

As most small business owners do, Jonus and Anne financed their start-up and growth from their own pocket. They assumed when the business started generating millions in revenue that banks would be happy to make them a loan.  But that was not the case.

Q: Why did Anne go to a bank and why did they turn her down?

A: Growth takes cash. Anne's vision got bigger than her cash flow so she hit the pavement for a bank loan. Banks turned her down because she was giving too much money away.

Rather than give up giving, Anne gave up on the banks. She refused to stop contributing to the counseling center as this was the original purpose of the company. A friend told her about a wealthy chicken farmer who enjoyed eating Auntie Anne's Pretzels so Anne went to visit him.

She told the farmer that she needed a loan to grow and he was happy to accommodate. The lesson here is that wealthy people want to invest in ideas they love and they want to earn money on their money. By creating a business-to-banker type of relationship, Anne was able to get the cash without giving up any ownership.

The angel investors are often more like venture capitalists. We read in the Wall Street Journal about the ones who want to buy- in, not make a loan. These angels are interested in putting cash in to grow a business; and for that cash, the founder has to give the angel part ownership.

Anne is teaching us here that all angels don't demand ownership.

Think about it

What would you do to grow your business if the chicken farmer loaned you a million dollars with favorable terms? Where could you find an angel?

Clip from: Auntie Annes Pretzels

Anne Beiler says that everyone is teachable and lovable.

Gap, Pennsylvania:   An angel investor stood by her while bank after bank turned her down because the purpose of this business was to make money then give it away.

Meet Anne Beiler, founder f Auntie Anne's Pretzels.  Anne's generous spirit is infused throughout this company and it is their secret ingredient.  Anne has proven that her franchisees want to run a business built on love. While most franchise companies have to market to find new owners, Anne has to turn away hundreds who want to buy into her concept. Products topped with her love of people make Anne Beiler a leadership example to follow.

In 1988 Anne Beiler turned a mistake into a new product. Today, Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels are baked fresh in over 800 locations and are the perfect high carbohydrate, low-fat, back-to-the-basics snack so many people crave. Customers will part with over $500 million a year to enjoy this hot treat.

So now, we travel out to Gap in Pennsylvania's Amish Country; it is a simpler place. And though it may be an unlikely place to be running a fast-growing business, maybe there are lessons here for all of us in these hostile times.  This business is based on love and on giving. This is the American Dream. It has come alive for all the right reasons.

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Auntie Anne's Inc.

Anne Beiler, Founder

160-A Route 41
Gap, PA 17527

Visit our web site:

Office: 717-435-1610

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1988

Find An Angel

ANNE: Did you make these pretzels?

Young employee: Yes.
HATTIE: Did you ever have to go to the bank for a loan because you were out on the edge too far?

ANNE: Yes. Yes, we did. We did. And we went to the bank for loans and they didn't like the amount of money that we were giving, so they wouldn't give us the loan.

HATTIE: You were giving away too much money.

ANNE: Yes, right.

HATTIE: They said to you, 'Now look, Anne, if you'd stop giving that money away, we would give you a loan.'

ANNE: Basically, that's what they said, yes.

HATTIE: And what did you say back?

ANNE: And I said, 'Well, you don't understand that this company was born to give, and I'm not going to give at the expense of paying my suppliers and my employees, but I'm not in the company to become wealthy. I'm in this to give money away.' But anyway, we found a chicken farmer that was introduced to us, and he has given us all the money we need to this day.

HATTIE: Wait a minute.

ANNE: So--

HATTIE: Wait a minute. This is somebody we would call an angel--

ANNE: Oh, yeah.

HATTIE: --in the finance business.

ANNE: Yes, he is an angel. And he would do business on a handshake if that's what we wanted to do.

HATTIE: How did you find him?

ANNE: A friend of ours gave us his name and said, 'He's got lots of money, and he likes Auntie Anne's. Maybe you should call him and see if he's interested in--'

HATTIE: Is he close by in this vicinity?

ANNE: Yes. He lives in this area.

HATTIE: So you could go see him in person--

ANNE: Yes.

HATTIE: --and you could say to him , 'Here are the financials. Here's why the bank told us no.'

ANNE: Yes. Oh, yeah.

HATTIE: And you did that and he said, 'OK, Anne,' and he gave you a check for $1 million.

ANNE: Yes. He didn't know who I was. I didn't know him, like a longtime friend. He was just someone that we were introduced to.

HATTIE: In one meeting, in one meeting.

ANNE: Oh, yeah, I believe. I'd have to--

HATTIE: Or maybe two.

ANNE: But, yeah, we talked a time or two and--

HATTIE: So has it been a good investment for him?

ANNE: Yes. He's a wonderful man.

HATTIE: But he's making money?

ANNE: Oh, yes, of course. Of course. He loans us the money. He's not a partner and he does not have any stock in the company.

HATTIE: Right, but he gets a percentage--

ANNE: Like my bank, yeah.

HATTIE: So he's your bank. The chicken farmer bank.

ANNE: Yes. He's wonderful.

HATTIE: My banker, the chicken farmer.

ANNE: Yes. So there are no limitations. When you go into business, you know, you've got to look beyond the norm. The concept of giving, the power, the force behind giving, I can't explain that, but there's something wrapped into that word of giving that there's really no explanation, but I can say that it works.



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