When Doaa Mohamed first started dreaming of owning her own franchise business in 2000, she was a 20-year-old retail manager with limited financial resources.
“A friend and co-worker said ‘Doaa, why don’t we start a franchise?’” said Doaa. “Of course, at that stage of our lives, we didn’t have the money but there was a relatively new franchise out there that sparked my interest, Wetzel’s Pretzels.”
Founded in 1994 in California, Wetzel’s Pretzels can be found in shopping malls and other retail spaces around the country, but they didn’t have much of a presence on the East Coast. Doaa was intrigued.
“Meanwhile, I got married, finished college, had kids and began a career in the corporate offices for Dunkin’ Donuts,” said Doaa. “My husband, Amr, managed Dunkin’ stores so we were developing the knowledge and skills necessary to one day own and manage a franchise business.”
Before diving into the franchise world, however, Doaa switched gears and began working in medical billing, learning the profession from the ground up and advancing from biller to director.
Before long, Doaa and Amr decided to open their own medical billing consulting company.
“I kept dreaming of becoming a franchise owner, and Wetzel’s Pretzels was specifically still on my mind, too,” said Doaa. “But we needed the money to get started and the medical billing company was a springboard to start building our financial footing for a franchise.”
After researching the initial capital requirements for several franchises, Doaa realized that Wetzel’s Pretzels was a realistic fit.
“In 2018, I attended a discovery day at Wetzel’s Pretzels’ headquarters in California,” said Doaa. “With a lot of franchisors, you need at least $1 million to open one franchise unit, and many of them require you open multiple units at startup. That wasn’t an option for me. But the Wetzel’s model works with franchisees to get started, including introducing me to a broker who connected me with WSFS.”
Working with the WSFS SBA team’s Greg Bula and Jennifer McGinnis, Doaa began the journey of funding and starting her own Wetzel’s Pretzels franchise. In 2019, Daym Management, Inc., a 100% women-owned business operating as a Wetzel’s Pretzels franchise, was established.
With plans to open in the Paramus Park Mall in Paramus, New Jersey in 2020, Doaa was not only dedicated to the medical billing business, but managing the paperwork, construction and health inspections required to begin operating.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, and she added supplementary home school instruction for her children to her plate—all while she trained for her new franchise business, obtained everything that was needed to close her SBA loan with WSFS, and continued to monitor and manage the medical billing business.
“It was a very busy year, and I never imagined I’d have to open a franchise business in the middle of a pandemic to realize my dream,” said Doaa. “But I never stopped working toward this and every step I took was for a reason, bringing us to where we are now. We did it.”
Now open and managed day-to-day by Amr, the journey to owning a Wetzel’s Pretzels franchise also brought an unexpected source of pride for Doaa.
“My daughter recently said to me, proudly, ‘Mom, you’re like a lion. If you want something, whatever it is, you’re going to go get it.’”
“As a businesswoman, franchise owner, dreamer and mother, that means the world to me.”
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