Young Entrepreneur Grabs Life by the Horns
Young Entrepreneur Grabs Life by the Horns

At the age of 24, Eric Woliver has already experienced a major life-changing event and has had to mature at a quicker rate than most of his peers. In 2011, Woliver’s family passed away in a plane crash. The family had traveled to Knoxville, Tenn. for Thanksgiving and was returning to their Panama Ci.....

At the age of 24, Eric Woliver has already experienced a major life-changing event and has had to mature at a quicker rate than most of his peers. In 2011, Woliver’s family passed away in a plane crash. The family had traveled to Knoxville, Tenn. for Thanksgiving and was returning to their Panama City, Fla. home via a private plane while Woliver had taken a commercial flight to Orlando, Fla., where he was working at the time. At only 22 years old, Woliver was suddenly faced with the death of his family members and dealing with all the legal and financial issues associated with their passing.

Although Woliver was born in Orlando, he had spent the majority of his life in the panhandle area and had always envisioned spending the rest of his life there. Therefore, after the family tragedy, Woliver resigned from his sales and marketing position at Orlando Steel, took a year off to figure out what he wanted to do, and, armed with a plan to open a small business, made the trip back to Panama City.

Woliver expects that his degree in business from Full Sail College, his sales and marketing career, and more importantly, his fast-tracked path toward adulthood, will position him for success.

How did you first learn about Pita Pit?

I had my first Pita Pit experience in 2008 in Gainesville, Fla. I didn’t like wraps but my friend insisted that pita bread was different and that I should try it, and so I did. I was blown away by how good it was even though I wasn’t a ‘wrap guy.’ I became a regular customer and continued ordering from them when I moved to Orlando.

Why did you decide to take an opportunity with Pita Pit?

There’s isn’t really an industry in Panama City so you need to own a small business. I looked into various franchises and concepts and Pita Pit was the best fit — the franchise system was like a family, it’s laid back, a great concept, corporate is there to support you, and it’s a fun atmosphere.

What are your expansion/development plans? 

I plan to open six Pita Pits in five years in the Florida panhandle. After this one in Panama City Beach, I hope to open another in Destin, a third in Glen Haven, another somewhere in between Seaside and Watercolor, and then eventually maybe another in Panama City Beach.

Are you involved in any charities or community outreach programs?

I plan to do canned food drives, work with Toys for Tots, and do a Chamber event every month.

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