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Famoso pizza franchise wins financial backing

Serruya brothers take an equity stake and a seat on the board to support Famoso's growth

Edmonton-born Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria has gained the support of international brand gurus and venture capitalists Michael and Simon Serruya. The Serruya brothers have taken an equity stake and a seat on the board at Famoso to support its growth in Canada and, potentially, internationally.

"The Famoso concept impressed me the first time I saw it," said Michael, who is co- founder of Yogen-Früz and Coolbrands International Inc. "We believe that Famoso's differentiation sets it apart from the competition and we see significant opportunity for the brand to continue to expand both in Canada and abroad."

Famoso is known for using Italian tomatoes in its sauce and adhering to old-world pizza dough and cooking methods.

The first Famoso opened in Edmonton in 2007. Justin Lussier, who founded Famoso along with partners Christian Bullock and Jason Allard, was inspired to bring Neapolitan pizza back to Canada after getting to know Naples' pizzeria culture on a university graduation trip.

Today there are 16 Famoso Neapolitan Pizzerias, including locations in Vancouver and Toronto. By the end of 2013 this number will have grown to about 30, thanks in large part to the Serruyas' support, Lussier said.

The cost of a Famosa franchise includes a $30,000 franchise fee and a $20,000 training fee, plus equipment and lease costs. A typical outlet will total about $740,000.