Spin Neapolitan Pizza has added a partner, Michael Kramer, who has held top finance and operations posts with large corporations.
He has worked before with Spin’s founders and is joining the company as it is adding franchises in California.
Besides taking a substantial equity stake in the Kansas City company, Kramer will be responsible for “financial infrastructure, vendor relationships, strategy and supply chain,” he said Tuesday in an email response to questions.
Kramer most recently was chief operating officer with J.C. Penney, which has headquarters in Plano, Texas. He previously worked with Spin founders Gail and Richard Lozoff and Edwin Brownell, who developed Bagel & Bagel. It started in Kansas City and became the national Einstein Bros. Bagels chain.
Kramer also has been chief financial officer of Apple Retail, Abercrombie & Fitch and Einstein/Noah Bagel and held financial positions for PepsiCo/Pizza Hut and Gateway. He also was chief executive officer and president of Kellwood, a struggling St. Louis area company that he joined right before the recession.
“Great timing, right?” Kramer said. “Well, my team and I were able to not only turn the company around but were able to position it for growth. In subsequent years we acquired three companies, which almost doubled the company’s size.”
For that, Kramer was named 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year for Missouri by the Business and Advisory Council.
Kramer also worked at Apple Retail with Ron Johnson, who became CEO of Penney and brought Kramer to that company. But Johnson’s big plans to revamp Penney backfired, and Kramer left the department store company in April.
“After a long career in corporate America, mostly in large companies, I had a strong urge to get back to ‘building’ versus ‘fixing.’ Building is much more fun than fixing,” said Kramer, who had stayed in touch with the Lozoffs and Brownell. “That’s when my conversations with Ed and Gail got more serious.”
He was “blown away” by Spin, he said, and was considering investing when the subject of also joining the management team came up.
“From an investment perspective, I am an equal partner with Ed and Gail, but I bring specific experiences and skills to help get Spin to the next level,” he said. “I’m honored that they asked me to join them.”
Spin is preparing to open its sixth area restaurant and has two franchisees, one opening restaurants in Southern California and the other in the San Francisco Bay area.
“I think Spin is a great candidate for national rollout, but we want to take our time and do it right,” said Kramer, who started his career in Kansas City.
Spin’s menu is developed in collaboration with James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Smith, and the restaurants’ architecture has won Best of Show at the Mid America Design Awards.