Auntie Anne Beiler

Anne Beiler began twisting pretzels in 1987 to support her husband's vision to offer free counseling services in their community. What began as a single farmer's market stand grew into Auntie...

Auntie Anne's Raises $1M for Childhood Cancer Research

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Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne's, and Bill Dunn, president and chief operating officer, stand in front of a painting by Alexandra "Alex" Scott, whose Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation is supported by the company.

Written by Tim Mekeel

The spirit of charity has been part of Auntie Anne’s since day one, says Anne Beiler.

She ought to know. She founded the company in 1988.

And as Auntie Anne’s has grown, so has the impact of its generosity.

On Friday, the soft pretzel retailer celebrated raising more than $1 million for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, as well as the company’s 26th birthday.

Beiler, who sold the company in 2005, was thrilled to see the business continuing to use its corporate power for good — in this case, supporting childhood cancer research.

“Thank you for carrying on the spirit of Auntie Anne’s,” said Beiler to a gathering of about 25 employees at its downtown headquarters.

“Let me tell you something — I did not create that spirit. That spirit comes directly from God himself,” she added.

Bill Dunn, Auntie Anne’s president and chief operating officer, emphasized that the firm “is still committed” to helping others. “It’s one of our core values today.”

Auntie Anne’s began supporting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in 2011. The company used its annual golf tournament to raise money for the foundation and gave money directly.

Franchisees also gave and raised money, hosting pretzel-rolling contests and setting out countertop donation canisters.

Most recently, Auntie Anne’s bid $15,000 at a foundation fundraiser for the opportunity to display for 11 months the last painting done by the foundation’s namesake, Alexandra “Alex” Scott.

The painting, a small depiction of a heart pierced by an arrow, surrounded by little stars and hearts,also was unveiled at Friday’s event.

Alex, of Wynnewood, outside Philadelphia, was diagnosed with cancer before her first birthday.

She gained national attention for putting up a lemonade stand in her front yard at age 4 to raise money for research. She died in 2004 at age 8.

Auntie Anne’s has more than 1,500 stores worldwide and posted annual sales of $542.2 million in 2013.

For information on how to book Anne Beiler for your next event, visit PremiereSpeakers.com/anne_beiler.

Source: Lancaster Online

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