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East Peoria\’s First Potbelly Sandwich Shop to Open August 7

CHICAGO (July 17, 2013)—Potbelly Sandwich Shop will open its doors at 318 W. Washington St., East Peoria, Wednesday, Aug. 7. This will give area residents the chance to experience the lively, neighborhood hangout that makes Potbelly Sandwich Shop “The Best Place for Lunch.”

The franchise store is family owned by longtime Peoria residents and business leaders, Scott and Lara Ackerman, and Jeff and Kim Ackerman. “Lara, Jeff and I are lifelong Peorians and we all have strong ties to the local community,” Scott said. “We graduated from Bradley University and the Ackermans are third-generation graduates. We are excited to bring the Potbelly neighborhood experience to our home town.”

Scott worked in the family dry cleaning business after graduating. Klean-Rite Cleaners was a company started by Scott and Jeff’s grandfather, Ralph Ackerman, and passed on to their father, Denny Ackerman, who worked there his entire career. Scott has since started Ackerman Ortho, which is a medical device sales company. He owns the company and currently runs it with younger brother, Tommie Ackerman.

Jeff worked the last 10 years in sales and management in the golf industry. He will be the general manager of the new Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Lara has spent the majority of her career raising their four boys—Ian, Alec, Evan and Andy. Kim has had a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, both in the Chicago and local markets. She is also a full-time mother to Adele and Charlette.

“We all really like Potbelly and its leadership—we feel their values match up well with ours,” Kim said. “They do things the right way. We respect that and wanted to be part of it. Plus, we love the food and the atmosphere.”

The Ackermans hope to have locations on both sides of the river, but they all are excited about the Levee District and everything happening there. “We are thrilled to be a part of it,” Scott said. “We are also pleased that our youngest brother, David, is joining our Potbelly team.”

David will be the assistant manager at the East Peoria shop. “With so many family members making this shop ‘the best place for lunch,’ we are already looking for possible Potbelly opportunities in Peoria,” David said.

The new shop will partner with Fondulac District Library during its pre-opening event, the Oven Warming Party, to raise funds for the organization. “We are excited about all of the new things the library has going, and we look forward to a long relationship,” Jeff said. Plus, we really like the idea of helping our neighbor.”

Known for its good vibes in addition to great sandwiches, live music has been a part of the Potbelly experience since the first shop opened in 1977. Neighborhood musicians put a little rhythm into lunch by performing live at Potbelly Sandwich Shops around the country. Musicians interested in performing at the new East Peoria Potbelly should contact the shop manager.
Potbelly has built a passionate, loyal following of fans who spread the word about the fun, energetic atmosphere and great food. The unique Potbelly experience is defined by its combination of toasty warm sandwiches, hand-dipped shakes, tasty made-to-order salads, as well as friendly and lively people. “Our goal is to make people really happy, and we can’t wait to get started,” Lara said.

This is the first Potbelly Sandwich Shop to open in East Peoria and the shop will staff approximately 25 employees and managers. The location is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

About Potbelly Sandwich Shop
From its humble beginnings as a small antique store on Chicago\’s North Side in 1977, Potbelly has grown from one to more than 280 shops serving neighborhoods in 18 states. Potbelly has built its reputation as a mealtime hangout spot, where great food, friends, eclectic décor and live, local music combine to create an atmosphere unlike any other. For more information, visit or access the company press kit from the Potbelly Press Room.

About Fondulac District Library
Fondulac District Library provides current, accurate, high-demand and high-interest materials primarily to district residents by acquiring, organizing and disseminating books, non-print materials and services that help educate, enrich, entertain and inform. Fondulac District Library is committed to the support of a culture of lifelong learning in the community.

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