published Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Sweet Peppers shutters Chattanooga restaurants

  • photo
    The father and son team of Mitchell and Frank Bell opened their first Sweet Peppers Deli on Broad Street in 2009, then opened a second in 2012. But after just a few years in business, the franchises are set to close both locations.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
    enlarge photo

The Sweet Peppers Deli franchises in Chattanooga operated by father and son team Mitchell and Frank Bell are closing up shop this week, employees say.

About 50 workers will lose their jobs by Nov. 1, as the downtown Chattanooga and Hamilton Place stores shut down for good. Two employees reached by the Times Free Press said the news took them by surprise, and no reason was given for the closure. Both, including a manager, are still looking for a job.

Frank Bell did not respond to requests for comment.

The Bells bought a franchise from Mississippi-based Sweet Peppers Deli in 2009, building their Broad Street location at the restored former home of the International Towing Museum and site of an auto dealership before that. The Hamilton Place mall location, across from Bed, Bath & Beyond, opened in early 2012.

Mitchell Bell got his start in the textile business before switching to restaurant management. He brought Frank Bell into the business at the age of 23.

Sweet Peppers' corporate headquarters, which didn't return calls seeking comment, lists 17 locations on its website, including the two Chattanooga restaurants that are set to close this week.

Contact Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6315

about Ellis Smith...

Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...

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