Domino’s Sells 26 Mpls Stores to Local Franchisee

Owner and operator Bill Graves will retain current employees, as he becomes the third-largest franchisee of the pizza chain.

Domino's Pizza has refranchised 26 company-owned stores in Minneapolis to a local operator, according to a statement released Monday.

The stores will now be owned and operated by local franchisee Bill Graves. With the acquisition, Graves' company, Ultimate Challenge, LLC, is the third-largest franchisee of Domino's in the United States.

“Minneapolis is an important market for us, and we are pleased that Bill Graves has decided to further invest in this market with this purchase,” Scott Hinshaw, executive vice president of franchise operations and development, said in a statement. “We are confident he can help make Domino's Pizza the dominant player in Minneapolis.”

Domino's declined to disclose financial details of the sale. According to the company's press statement, Graves will allow all current store employees to retain their positions within his franchise, and no stores will be closed as a result of the sale.

Graves opened his first Domino's store in 1985. Since that time, he went on to open 46 more, and he now operates stores in Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Only 5 percent (429 stores) of Domino's U.S. stores are now company-owned, while the rest are franchised. Nearly all of its international stores are franchised.

Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Domino's operates a network of 9,351 stores around the globe. During the third quarter of 2010, the company's global retail sales totaled nearly $1.4 billion, of which $747 million was from U.S. stores, and $650 million from international stores.