Auntie Anne's in the Dover mall was the third Auntie Anne's to ever be located in a mall.
The Auntie Anne's store in the Dover Mall may just look like one of their thousands of outlets worldwide, but it's a little piece of history. It was one of the first Auntie Anne's stores to be in a mall, number three to be exact.
"I really enjoy being a part of that history," said store owner Cathy Riehl.
Auntie Anne's founder Anne Beiler came down to the Dover Mall herself 20 years ago and pitched the idea of an outlet to the mall owners.
The Dover store was founded in 1992, back when the menu only consisted of a pretzel and lemonade. The menu has expanded to include goodies like a hotdog wrapped in pretzel dough, a cinnamon sugar topped pretzel and a pepperoni pretzel.
The menu isn't the only aspect that has changed since Riehl set up shop. The mall the store is housed in has changed over time, as well.
"The mall is constantly trying to improve and update its stores," she said. "They are getting ready to do their biggest remodel in 20 years."
Riehl hasn't always been in the pretzel game. Before she bought an Auntie Anne's franchise, she and her husband were in construction.
"We decided to do this because they're a very good franchise," she said. "They're still one of the top."
Eric Riehl, Cathy's son, has been on board since day one. Rolling pretzels at Auntie Anne's was his first job, back when he was still in high school. Mother and son working together fits right in with the company business model.
"Auntie Anne's tries to keep it a family business," he said. "They're good at that. They're a huge franchise, but they make it closer, so it feels small."
On free pretzel day, one of the busiest days of the year, the store has turned out well over 2,000 pretzels between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., Eric Riehl said. On days like that, Eric's pretzel rolling skills come in handy. He can roll out an entire batch of dough - 42 pretzels - in under three minutes.
His lightning fast pretzel rolling comes in handy when the corporate office hosts regional events, where it hosts pretzel rolling competitions.
At the store's grand re-opening on Feb. 9, celebrating 20 years of business, the store sold more than 1,500 pretzels, primarily in just a few hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"The ovens can't keep up with me," he boasted.
Anyone who's craving a soft pretzel can stop by the Auntie Anne's store in the Dover Mall from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Sunday.