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New business on the river is a family affair

Miramichi Leader KELSEY RAMBARAN

MIRAMICHI (05/15/2014)  – A new Pita Pit franchise opened its doors to the public in Miramichi on May 13.

It’s a first-time business venture by Andy and Jennifer McFarlane, Andy’s brother David McFarlane and his mother Edith Campbell.

Campbell is a retired school teacher, Jennifer McFarlane is a guidance counsellor at Miramichi Valley High School and David McFarlane works in the oil industry in Alberta.

“I had no aspiration to be a franchisee, but I tried it and really liked it,” said Andy McFarlane.

“There isn’t a lot of options in Miramichi and I felt we needed more options for healthy eating.”

Pita Pita gives customers the option to pick their choice of meat, vegetables and sauces all rolled up in a pita. They also offer vegetarians choices.

McFarlane said they opted for a Pita Pit franchise because of the healthy aspect.

“I really believe in the product,” he said.

“It is fast food, but it’s not your typical greasy fast food. It tastes great and it’s great for you.”

McFarlane believes the new Pita Pit franchise will be good for the community.

“It’s a family-owned business and we plan on being involved in the community to promote healthy eating,” he said.

To launch their new business, the family first had to send in an application to the national office of Pita Pit, then do both a phone and in-person interview before going to Kingston, Ont. for training.

The Pita Pit franchise was founded in 1995 in Kingston and there are more than 400 stores across North America and 70 international stores.

Campbell said she really enjoys being in business.

“I love it. It’s totally different. I love people, I didn’t want to go home and retire,” she said.

“I was only retired two months and then we started this. I’m still teaching in a way because I’m working with a young staff and teaching them efficiency and great customer service.”

The family hired 13 employees to help them run the franchise.

“We’ve hired a very sufficient team and we’re looking forward to serving the Miramichi and guests,” said Campbell.

Campbell was pleased with the way the community has received them so far and said the community support has been over-whelming in a good way.

“The community has been very supportive. People have dropped in and encouraged us and we’ve had great feedback on Facebook,” she said.

As for any advice he might have for someone else thinking of starting their own business, McFarlane said it’s just a matter of taking that first step.

“Just do it. We have a great community. They are very supportive.”