From Andrew Warfield of the Florida Business Observer on Friday, June 21:
Just prior to the recession, real estate agent Tim Goff and mortgage broker Justin O’Brien went into the restaurant business — on the side — as franchisees with a Pita Pit in Estero, near Florida Gulf Coast University. Best friends since the third grade, they call fortuitous their foray into an industry in which they had little experience. “We were young enough and dumb enough to think we could have an investment in the restaurant business as a secondary source of income,” Goff says. “It was a blessing in disguise as the bottom fell out of the real estate market, and we had Pita Pit to fall back on,” O’Brien adds. Through the downturn and beyond, the partners, who consider themselves brothers, grew their franchise into eight locations from Naples to Tallahassee. Along the way, they gathered the experience necessary to go on their own and, in 2012, began to plan a new fast-casual concept.