If you’ve enjoyed a pretzel or pretzel bites or cheese (yum!) from Auntie Anne’s, whether at a mall or an airport, or somewhere else, chances are you haven’t thought much beyond how delicious a snack you’ve procured.
If you had, well…you probably would have been shocked by how Auntie got her start.
Auntie Anne’s actual name is Anne Beiler, and she was raised in the Amish community, where she dropped out of school in eighth grade, then married at 18.
An aunt to over 30 nieces and nephews, she had her own children, too.
One of them, a daughter, was killed in a tractor accident, and when Anne sought help with her grief at church, her pastor r*ped her.
Afterward, he coerced her into a six year sexual relationship, and when Anne finally gathered the courage to out him, things blew up.
He had been doing the same thing to almost every women in their congregation, including every last one of her sisters, and the community eventually ran him out of town on a rail.
Her husband wanted to open a counseling center where women could seek grief counseling free of sexual manipulation (wtf, y’all), but Anne decided to deal with her grief and betrayal her own way, buying a local pretzel shop that had recently gone out of business.
She threw herself into learning how to make delicious pretzels and run a business, and within a year, had opened seven additional locations.
She used the money to open the grief counseling center, hoping that other women who suffered as she had would not be further traumatized when asking for help.
None of this altered her faith, and recently, she even did a stint on the Museum of the Bible’s board of directors.
She’s a strong woman, no doubt, and even though her pretzels are delicious, I’m sorry all of this had to happen to her for them to become a thing.
One thing’s for sure though…I wouldn’t mess with her. Not for all the pretzel bites in the world.