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Substantiated Rumor: Potbelly’s Going Public

100-unit Potbelly’s, who recruited DeLuca from Starbucks as an investor and board member, is planning to raise money in the public capital markets with an IPO in the 3rd quarter of 2007.

Chicagoans have been enjoying Potbelly’s toasty-warm sandwiches, fresh homemade desserts, and old-fashioned milkshakes at the original Lincoln Avenue store since 1977. The original stand was in an antique shop, formed to feed and attract hungry locals to browse the atiques.

Current owner Bryant Keil purchased the business in 1996, and has since expanded its presence to Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minneapolis, Ohio, and Texas. Potbelly has over 100 company owned-locations and the growth continues, albeit at an intentionally steady, controlled pace.

Background article.

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  1. Would the ipo be a blowout? They have good names in the deal, but their growth is too slow for a public company. The rate of store openings would have to increase which may not be too easy being all corporate owned

  2. There is a Potbelly’s in one of the Chicago airports. The product is good, but not really that extraordinary. It is better Quiznos who also toasts their subs. The antique decorations and old-fashioned charm, along with the handmade shakes give it enough edge to make money in a competitive market. It would make a good study on in the level of differentiation needed for customers to shift buying habits.

  3. having been throught the starbucks OPI, i believe that Potbellys has a viable commodity with the leadership to support the business. If and when they do go public, you can bet i will be there with open arms (and wallet)

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