Launceston-born sushi house, Sushi Plus is looking to spread its wings state-wide, with owner James Pearse opening the brand to more potential franchisees.
Originally from Hobart, Mr Pearse came to Launceston in 2000 after spending time on the mainland and in Thailand - where he met his wife and business partner. More than 15 years later and after operating a recycling scheme and a number of cafes and restaurants, the pair decided that a sushi shop would be their next venture.
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"We were looking for something that was a bit more family friendly and had some downtime outside of the trading hours. There wasn't a lot of sushi in Launceston at the time, so we thought, 'sushi could work'."
When the couple opened their first store on Charles Street in 2016, the idea of franchising hadn't occurred to them. It wasn't until chatting with friend Krista Long, who was hoping to open something similar, that the concept took root.
"Krista has done lots of food stores as well and was looking for something new. Charles Street was going pretty well, so we thought we'd do another one and Krista wanted to be involved. She ended up opening the George Street location under our brand."
On the back of the success of the second store, Krista went on to help run another site under a partnership at Kings Meadows.
"I knew I wanted to be involved in Sushi Plus from day one," Ms Long said.
Building on the momentum of three successful locations, Mr Pearse took the leap to reframe the venture as a bona fide franchise - an effort that's been a year in the making.
"We've been working with a franchise consultant all this year to get all the legal documents and everything together. We're also in the process of getting a social media campaign - that will be the big push," he said.
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When asked why he thinks the brand will flourish outside of the North, Mr Pearse brought it back to the Sushi Plus's dual focus on speed and quality.
"We make a lot of our own products in house and we don't bring in the same old frozen stuff that everybody else has. We also realised that our customers are mostly lunchtime. They're short on time, so we really strive to give them very quick service."
While Sushi Plus has come a long way in the last five years, Mr Pearse didn't express any desire to ship the brand to the mainland.
"We want to be a Tasmanian sushi brand and tailor our offering to the Tasmanian market, where we can still work with the community," he said. Sushi Plus is now advertising to licensees in the Greater Hobart, North-West Coast, East Coast and Northern Midlands regions.
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