By Desiree Williams
Pizza lovers in Carmel may soon be able to taste something new as Cottage Inn Pizza is looking to expand its business in the area. The brand is entering a growth phase with plans to open or begin development of five Midwest stores before the end of the year.
Debbie Masse, vice president of operations, said the brand has always grown by word of mouth rather than marketing strategies, so she joined the corporate office in 2012 with a goal of developing a rapid growth phase for the franchise.
“I think it’s an old brand that came out of retirement,” Masse said.
The first Cottage Inn restaurant opened in 1948. Nicholas Michos traveled from Greece to the U.S. twice before purchasing the original pizzeria and Italian restaurant in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1961. He then brought his wife to the U.S., started a family and turned the business into a franchise. His sons George, Theo and Jimmy took over the business when Michos died in 2014.
Masse said Cottage Inn is different than other brands because of the materials. The family only includes top-of-the-line, clean and healthy ingredients. She also said it stands out because of the family’s dedication.
“Because it’s been in the family a long time, they pretty much eat, live and breathe their pizza,” she said. “They eat it more than anyone.”
Cottage Inn Pizza has stores in Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and China. Masse said the brand is targeting the Indianapolis and Columbus areas for expansion.
“Those are our two target markets to really hit any suburb around there that might be prime for the picking,” she said.
The company is still searching for the best owner and site for the Carmel location. Because of the higher-end product line, Masse said it is not an instantly profitable business, so the brand is selective when choosing a franchisee.
For more, visit cottageinnfranchise.com.