The state's first Corner Bakery will be a freestanding buildingat Lakeland Drive and Old Fannin Road at the entrance of theDogwood Festival Shopping Center, which is under construction. Thecenter's tenant roster includes JCPenney, Bed Bath and Beyond,Circuit City, Old Navy and PetsMart. "This is a good, high-profilecenter and we're pleased to be opening in such a location," saysP.J. Evans, Corner Bakery's vice president of franchisedevelopment.

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Evans tells GlobeSt.com that Mississippi was targeted as anopportunity for expansion because of the lack of competition. Headds that Flowood was selected for the first restaurant because theJackson, MS suburb is fast becoming a magnet for retailers. "Forsome of the retail stores, Flowood is their only Mississippipresence," Evans says.

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Evans says the Flowood store is a different strategy from CornerBakery Cafe's usual end-cap locations in strip centers."Franchisees come to us with different motivations and interest,"he says. "In this case, he's interested in buying the dirt anddeveloping."

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Evans adds that the Ridgeland, MS franchisee also is developinga larger restaurant. Most Corner Bakery Cafes range from 3,600 sfto 3,800 sf, with all-in development costs of $1.1 million to $1.4million.

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The development teams for Corner Bakery Cafe and ResoluteBakeries are looking for other sites, primarily in Jackson. Evanssays Jackson could support two or three restaurants. Also underconsideration is Hattiesburg and areas along the coast. Ideallocations contain a heavy concentration of retail and families withhigh-end household incomes. Evans says a good mix of daytime andbusiness population is essential as well since much of CornerBakery Cafe's business takes place between breakfast and lunch.

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Evans says the five-restaurant plan isn't graven in stone.Depending on how well the concept sells, the franchisee coulddevelop more. "The current contract is for five, but we'reconservative in how we sell markets," he adds. "We want tounderstand what kind of provider we're working with and wetypically undersell markets. I wouldn't be surprised if Mississippieventually holds eight to 10 restaurants."

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