Potbelly Stock Price Surges 135 Percent on Initial Public Offering

Friday, 04 Oct 2013 01:13 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Potbelly Corp. had a gut-busting debut as a publicly traded company.

The Chicago sandwich chain, with the Nasdaq ticker symbol of "PBPB," surged more than 135 percent Friday, significantly higher than the initial $14 offering price, according to Bloomberg.com. The stock opened at $28.79 and traded as high as $33.78, as of noon ET Friday.

The company originally sold 7.5 million shares at $14, raising more than $105 million.

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The company that boasts "good vibes" and "great sandwiches" began as a sandwich-serving antique shop on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago in 1977. Entrepreneur Bryant Keil bought the store in 1996, and expanded to a 286-location chain, according to the company website.

"We give you a terrific experience," CEO Aylwin B. Lewis told CNBC. "The young men and women that we have, they bring their personalities to work. We have a terrific product that we spend a lot of time on. It's great price value. It's customizable. It's easy to order. We're a neighborhood sandwich shop. We want to treat customers right so they can come back again and again."

Potbelly is the most recent quick service restaurant to sell shares to the public. Stock in Noodles & Co. (NDLS) debuted in June, and has more than doubled, according to Marketwatch.com. On Aug. 1, organic grocery chain
Sprouts Farmers Market LLC more than doubled on its first day of trading, the biggest gain for a U.S. initial public offering in more than two years, according to Moneynews.com.

In August 2012, several other chains debuted, including Bloomin' Brands, Del Frisco's, Ignite Restaurant Group, Chuy's and Dunkin Brands, reported CNN.

Other non-restaurant companies debuted this week in Remax, Empire State Realty Trust and Burlington Stores. Also, social-media site Twitter announced its IPO plans on Thursday, and plans to raise nearly $1 billion through the offering.

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