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Morris

Bubba CEO buys Peterbrooke

by Joe Wilhelm Jr., Staff Writer

Bubba Burger President and CEO William “Billy” Morris added to his corporate menu with the purchase of Jacksonville-based candymaker Peterbrooke Chocolatier.

“It’s exciting for me. Peterbrooke Chocolatier is an iconic brand well-loved in this city,” Morris said Friday.

“The blue bag with the pink tissue paper coming out of the top is a wonderful thing for people to see coming into the store,” he said.

Articles of organization were filed Dec. 29 with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations for Peterbrooke Acquisition Co. LLC and Peterbrooke Franchising of America LLC and were filed Jan. 6 for Peterbrooke Chocolate Factory LLC.

All list the same principal address as Bubba Burger Grill LLC.

Morris bought the company from owners that include Kelly Harris, who formerly owned the Times Grill restaurant locations that Morris turned into Bubba Burger restaurants.

Morris said he looks forward to carrying on the tradition that Peterbrooke creator Phyllis Geiger started in 1983 in a small shop in San Marco.

Naming the business after her son, Peter, and daughter, Brooke, Geiger “translated her European training of making fine chocolates into a truly American experience,” according to the company website.

One of the most popular products is the chocolate-covered popcorn.

Corporate documents indicate that Harris and his partners bought into the company in 2009.

The company consists of a corporate office along San Jose Boulevard, a factory on San Marco Boulevard, five corporate stores and 15 franchised stores, including two outside of Florida in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Atlanta.

Morris said he will maintain the San Jose Boulevard corporate headquarters.

The sale didn’t include any of the franchised stores, but the Peterbrooke Chocolatier franchising business will continue to provide support for its current franchisees and also look for opportunities to expand the brand, he said.

Morris began pursuing the purchase more than a year ago and completed it in time for Valentine’s Day, one of the largest sales events for candymakers.

“For the people who love Peterbrooke Chocolatier, the transition will be seamless. The same team is in place at the franchisee level and our same team is in place at the corporate store level, so we are ready to go for Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day,” he said.

“What I can say is that the Peterbrooke team is innovative, talented. Whether it’s chocolate-covered bacon, chocolate-covered strawberries, whatever is produced by the Peterbrooke team is going to be delightful,” said Morris.

Morris has plans to further develop the company.

“From a marketing standpoint, to really enhance the marketing efforts they already have in place,” said Morris.

Almost a year ago, Morris announced the launch of the “Original Bubba Burger Grill,” with the first ones to open in the former Times Grill locations at Baymeadows Road and Florida 9A, Normandy Boulevard near Cassat Avenue, Beach and

Hodges boulevards and at 1811 Town Center Blvd. in Fleming Island.

jwilhelm@baileypub.com

356-2466

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