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Hospitality group plans Pita Pit expansion

Thomason Hospitality Group has acquired the Pita Pit operations in Medford and Grants Pass, and longtime restaurateur Dave Thomason has signed an agreement to expand his holdings beyond the Rogue Valley.

Ben and Bridget Anderson opened the Medford store in the Delta Center along Crater Lake High Highway in November 2008, expanding into Grants Pass with a location on Beacon Drive in 2009. Thomason said the plan is to move to the Portland area.

"They have a great group of people already employed," Thomason said. "We're bringing in updated point-of-sale systems and replacing the menu boards with digital menu boards where some people use chalk."

The agreement with Pita Pit's national office requires Thomason to open seven new locations during a five-year period.

"In doing so, I locked up all of the Southern Oregon and Lane County territory," Thomason said.

There are small single-unit owners in Ashland, close to Southern Oregon University campus, and Eugene, near the University of Oregon.

"The one in Eugene was the first franchise in the United States. I'm hoping to acquire it," Thomason said. "If we don't, he would have a one-mile perimeter protection. But it makes sense to have the entire market to myself."

The Ashland shop, like the Eugene location, is small.

"Both do a lot of deliveries into the college and catering,"  he said.

Thomason said he is also in conversations with the owner of the Corvallis and Salem Pita Pits.

Acquisitions don't count toward the new location deal, he said.

"I was very  impressed with not only the Pita Pit concept but also the strength and track record of the franchisor," Thomason said.  "We have key people who are already up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at their National Training Center getting ready for our August takeover.”

Pita Pit, founded in 1995 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, has grown to 240 locations in the U.S., and more than 600 worldwide 

Thomason Hospitality Group employs more than 500, and its holdings include Elmer’s Restaurants, Taprock NW Grill and Taprock Event Center and Human Bean coffee stands

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31