After nearly a decade in the franchising industry, Michael DiSante recognized SoBol’s growth potential and joined the winning concept.
Having spent his entire career in the food business, Michael DiSante knows how to satisfy customer cravings better than most. From his beginnings at a large grocery chain where he rose through the ranks before getting the entrepreneurial itch and turning to franchising with Philly Pretzel Factory, DiSante has had big plans. Over the last ten years, DiSante has opened multiple franchises in Southeastern Pennsylvania around the cities of Harrisburg and Lancaster and is now teaming up with a new brand to bring an exemplary offering to the same market with SoBol.
DiSante first came across acai bowls in Lancaster about a year prior to signing his franchise agreement with SoBol in July 2018. “I was looking for something a little different than Philly Pretzel Factory, and was actually researching another acai bowl concept heavily when someone I knew had a connection to [SoBol founder and CEO] Jason Mazzarone,” DiSante said.
“I met with the team and visited a few stores and was really drawn to the culture. The franchise model and SoBol’s whole platform were more enticing than the competition, by far,” DiSante said. With overall investment ranges from $174,800 to $249,500 including an initial franchise fee of $20,000, he was sold on the concept.
DiSante’s first SoBol location in Lancaster is set to open by year’s end and he believes his franchise experience with Philly Pretzel Factory will provide a great point of reference on which to build SoBol’s presence in the Lancaster market and beyond to cities like Harrisburg and York, Pennsylvania. “Ten years of experience has taught me a lot about how to market and has served as a test run for dealing with adversity. Owning multiple locations in Lancaster has refined my ability to connect with these customers,” DiSante said.
“SoBol is an emerging, up-and-coming brand and the market is conducive to acai bowls. The concept is dairy-free, vegan friendly and has nut-free options which are all perfect offerings for this diverse market, so I’m confident in our location’s potential for success,” DiSante added. He noted that there have been discussions on social media and in local newspapers about the need for an acai bowl offering in the area and he is happy to deliver to a receptive market.
“Michael’s familiarity with the territory and his ample franchise experience made him the perfect candidate to join our team,” said SoBol founder and CEO Jason Mazzarone. “His experience and expertise are exactly what SoBol needs to continue expanding throughout Pennsylvania,” Mazzarone continued.
DiSante plans to draw on this familiarity and involvement in the inner workings of a franchise to aid in the opening of his newest franchise location. Over the course of his time with Philly Pretzel Factory, he has become heavily involved in the organizational side of the brand by serving on its Franchise Advisory Council and chairing the Innovation Committee.
Through his participation in these organizations and growth into a multi-unit franchisee who is diversifying his portfolio with a strong brand like SoBol, DiSante has developed a deep appreciation for the industry as a whole. “In the franchise sector, there’s a community within the system where you can reach out for help,” he said. “Someone else has always been through what you are going through, and it’s easy to find advice on getting to the next level. Following a proven system that also gives you the freedom to put twists on it in your own market is exciting and rewarding,” he added.