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Bringing the buzz back to Christchurch, one pizza slice at a time

HELL has a new beat in the heart of Christchurch – its first store in the CBD, the first in the South Island to sell HELL pizza by the slice, headed by the network’s youngest franchisee

HELL Hereford Street opened its doors on 10 July, becoming the pizza chain’s eighth store in the Christchurch region and the first in its CBD.​

Owned by 21-year-old Brayden Freeman, the youngest franchisee in the network, the store is also the first in the South Island to sell HELL Pizza-by-the-Slice.

Despite his young age, Brayden’s passion, drive and community focus make him a “perfect fit” for the role, says HELL general manager Ben Cumming.

“We couldn't have picked a better person for the job,” said Mr Cumming. “Brayden is a committed local resident, who shares our excitement in this new venture and who has risen through the ranks within the HELL family.

“It will be a challenge, given the current climate of central Christchurch, but Brayden is looking forward to the prospect and determined to help the city get its buzz back.”​

Mr Freeman said he is “nervous but excited” about the opportunity ahead of him and believes the location can be a hot spot for HELL’s Pizza-by-the-Slice.

“I want the store to help draw people back into the city centre,” said Mr Freeman. “The earthquakes really drained our community. This is an opportunity to help reinject some life back into the heart of Christchurch and help bring the community together.”

“I think Pizza-by-the-Slice is a great fit for our city, because it will be attractive to everyone from office workers and students to tourists and anyone else looking for a quick, tasty snack.

“We’re hoping it will bring more people to our door. We want our store to have a real buzz to it.”

Local roots

Brayden, who was born and bred in Christchurch, joined HELL as a part-timer at the tender age of 14 – having been given a chance by his older sister Melissa.

“I gave Brayden his first job at the Shirley store,” laughed Ms Freeman, who is teaming up with her brother as store manager of Hereford Street. “I’m really pleased he has been given the opportunity to become a franchisee – it’s a dream come true for him.”

After the 2011 earthquake forced the Shirley store to close temporarily, Brayden moved to the Bishopdale store and continued to work hard, steadily progressing through the ranks to store manager.

“When I joined HELL, I was inspired by the team spirit and the opportunities for progression,” said Mr Freeman. “I also love the community initiatives that HELL is involved with, like the Active in HELL programme. It’s all part of what motivated me to become a franchise owner myself and I look forward to getting more involved in the future.”

“HELL is always looking for franchisees with this level of passion and commitment,” said Mr Cumming. “We’re really pleased for Brayden and Melissa and believe they will be an asset to their community and our network.”

The Hereford Street store is the 70th store in HELL’s national network.


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