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Cinnabon Inc. is expanding its global footprint with the opening of a unit in Tripoli, Libya, earlier this month.
A co-branded Cinnabon and Carvel store debuted July 2, in one of the city's busiest streets. According to the company, it is the first U.S. brand to open in Libya. The location was in the works for more than two years, with the opening delayed due to the Libyan revolution in 2011.
"The tenacity and courage of our franchise partners and their team show their ultimate commitment to the Cinnabon brand. We are excited to be the first American brand to develop in this market and we know there's a lot more growth potential in the region," said Mike Shattuck, president of FOCUS Brands International, which handles overseas expansion for Cinnabon, as well as Carvel Ice Cream, Moe's Southwest Grill, Schlotzsky's and Auntie Anne's Pretzels.
The location was developed by franchise partners Arief and Ahmed Swaidek, brothers who plan to build another Cinnabon location later this year and will develop at least 10 Cinnabon stores in the next five years. The partners also have signed on to bring more Carvel and Moe's Southwest Grill locations to Libya.
Cinnabon has more than 900 locations in 51 countries. Throughout the remainder of 2012, it projects opening approximately 130 new international bakeries globally with new market launches in Nicaragua, Iraq and Ukraine. The company plans to enter an additional eight new international markets in the next 12 months.
International expansion is a main focus for the brand's immediate growth. The company has opened 71 Cinnabon locations in Russia in three years, with plans for another 80 over the next five years. Shattuck also said Cinnabon is looking for franchise partners in other North African countries, such as Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.
"The guests love the overall experience at Cinnabon and they tell us they are enjoying the western flavors and unique hospitality we strive so hard to offer in beautiful surroundings," Shattuck said.
In addition to the traditional menu items in Libya, the location also is offering a wide variety of locally created sandwiches, salads and other baked good, as well as cakes and pies which are imported from Italy.
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