After selling plumbing and heating supplies for many years, Mike Folcarelli is trying something different.
He is opening a HoneyBaked Ham Co. and Cafe franchise in the Pleasant Valley Shopping Center.
Folcarelli hopes to have his business up and running April 14 in time for Easter.
He said he was familiar with the products from his days as one of the owners of Folcarelli Supply Co.
"We had used them for promotions. It is a great product. I looked at different franchises when I got out of the plumbing and heating supply business, and it seemed to me to be the best," Folcarelli said.
HoneyBaked Ham is a retailer of high-quality spiral-sliced glazed hams, turkeys and other special occasion center-of-the-table products.
The spiral-sliced HoneyBaked Ham is the company's core product with each ham hand-selected for unmatched quality and slow-smoked for 24 hours for superior tenderness. The hams arrive at the store spiral sliced and fully cooked and are fire-glazed in the stores and sold ready to serve. HoneyBaked also offers other premium meats, traditional heat-and-serve sides and desserts, according to the company's website.
Folcarelli said he was intrigued by HoneyBaked Ham's various revenue streams.
"They do a retail business with hams and turkeys. They also have a business gifting program and catering, and an in-store cafe for lunch," Folcarelli said.
HoneyBaked Ham has 455 locations in 39 states, with 280 locations company-owned, and the other 175 are franchise units.
Only the franchise locations offer lunch, Folcarelli said.
The Pleasant Valley Shopping Center location will have 30 indoor seats and 16 seats in a partially enclosed patio.
The store will employ 6 to 8 full- and part-time workers during normal times and add more people during the peak holiday times - HoneyBaked Ham does 70 percent of its business during Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving - Folcarelli said.
Business hours will be 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Joe Hurd, president and CEO of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce is excited to have HoneyBaked Ham open in Altoona.
"I think it is a great addition to a pretty impressive array of restaurants here already," he said. "They have high-quality products, and I am thinking this will be a very popular destination for people who don't like to cook a large meal.
"It is nice to have a company like that move in with a local presence. Michael Folcarelli has been a good business person in our area."
Folcarelli said he did research before deciding to become a franchisee. He is optimistic the Altoona location will do well.
"I spent time over Thanksgiving and Christmas at the State College location, and they do a tremendous lunch and catering business," Folcarelli said. "It is still a business. You need to hire good people, train them and provide good customer service. It is just a different product. I have gone from plumbing and heating supplies to hams."