The first of 25 planned Florida locations of Pie Five Pizza is set to open Jan. 13 at the Gateway Center in Port Orange, under the leadership of local restaurateur L. Gale Lemerand. According to a news release, Lemerand was one of the first developers to sign on with Pie Five.

"I'm thrilled to be introducing Pie Five to my home state because I know Floridians will appreciate our quality, variety, remarkable preparation time and great prices," he said. "Once people see how easy it is to get their own perfect pizza custom-made with whatever toppings they want all for one great price, they'll be fans just like me."

At the Jan. 13 grand opening, the Port Orange Chamber of Commerce will conduct the official ribbon cutting for the restaurant at 4 p.m. In addition, 103.3 WVYB-FM will be broadcasting live from the restaurant from 4 to 6 p.m. Five guests will win "Free Pizza for a Year" in a drawing to be held during the radio show.

"We've said all along that we couldn't have asked for a better franchise partner in Florida than Gale," said Madison Jobe, chief development officer for Dallas-based Pie Five. "Gale's track record speaks for itself, and we can't wait to celebrate his success."

Lemerand has signed two development agreements to bring a total of 25 Pie Five restaurants to Florida, covering the Orlando, Gainesville, Melbourne, Daytona Beach, St. Augustine and Jacksonville markets. He recruited the former managing partner at Carrabba's Italian Grill, John Tintsman, as VP and chief operating officer to support the expansion. Kevin Ringueberg also recently joined the team as director of Training & Development.

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