Episode 73 – Featuring “Auntie Anne” Beiler & Bobby Zappala

Her Pretzels Aren’t the Only Thing With a Twist: Inside the Tumultuous Life and Unparalleled Success of “Auntie” Anne Beiler

For Anne Beiler, it started in the heart of Amish country, Gap, Pennsylvania, with a dream to be a singer, along with her sisters, in a musical trio.  Along the way, she figured she would become a wife and a mother.  And that was it.

Growing up as one of eight children, Anne’s role in the family was that of baker and bread maker.  Through her first job as a waitress, she learned about the importance of good customer service, and through a later job at a farmer’s market, she learned how to roll dough into pretzels in the soft, doughy style of the Pennsylvania Dutch.

But in 1975, tragedy struck her and her husband, Jonas, as their second daughter, Angela (a toddler) was killed in a freak accident involving a tractor Anne’s older sister had been driving. To cope with the grief, Anne sought a local pastor for counsel, a trust that was violated through over six years of sexual abuse, not only to Anne, but also her sisters and best friend.

With no sign of hope on the horizon in her own life, her and Jonas decided to use their devotion to faith and charity by opening a free family counseling center in their community.  To help support this venture, Anne started a side business using one particular skill she had tucked away for years, and in 1987, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels was born.

Since that time, you’ve no doubt seen her company’s ubiquitous presence (1,200 locations and growing) in malls, shopping centers, airports, retail stores and supermarkets throughout America.  But what you may not have seen is that yes, her and Jonas DID build the Family Resource and Counseling Center in Gap, Pennsylvania, and have continued to use proceeds from Auntie Anne’s Pretzels to build the Center’s facility to include a library, church, gymnasium, cafe, day care center, and center for the elderly.

Giving back has always been at the core of Anne Beiler’s entrepreneurial efforts, as is her unwavering faith, in spite of all she has endured.  On this episode, she shares her remarkable story live with Raja on an episode of Your American Story that you really can’t afford to miss.