10 to Watch: Mikey Wetzel
Mikey Wetzel made a name for himself in Salisbury after opening Go Burrito with his wife Lily in 2013. Running the restaurant became Wetzel’s full-time job after he lost his position as a technical director for Xbox and Microsoft Games Studios.
Go Burrito offers burritos, nachos, quesadillas, salads and tacos, all made-to-order with fresh ingredients. It has the only rooftop patio and bar within 50 miles of the area and often hosts karaoke, pong tournaments and live music.
The restaurant had $800,000 in sales in its first year and racked up $1.18 million in its second year. Year three yielded $1.49 million.
Wetzel said sales at the end of 2016 would probably be around $1.6 million.
This past year, Wetzel announced the creation of a parent company called Go Ventures, which is headquarted in downtown Salisbury. Wetzel is offering franchise opportunities for Go Burrito and has partnered with Franchise Innovation Group out of Tennessee to develop manuals, training classes and other elements to make his restaurant replicable.
“I’m no longer in the business of selling burritos,” Wetzel said in an interview earlier this year. “I’m now selling burrito restaurants.”
Although Wetzel cannot promise the success of every future Go Burrito, he said he will offer extensive support to franchisees because if they are successful, he is successful.
“I have a vested interest in every Go Burrito,” he said.
— Amanda Raymond
Address: Salisbury, the High Rock Lake area
Where born: Phoenix
If you won $10 million in the lottery, what would you do?
Use the money to hire a team to create and oversee all sorts of different businesses around Salisbury.
Favorite book: “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
Who would play you in a movie: Wetzel said sometimes when a big-name celebrity plays a biographical role, all the audience can see is the celebrity, so he would want a no-name actor to play his role in a movie.
What would you choose for your last meal: Nothing. Wetzel said if he was having a last meal it would either be because he was sick or in prison, so he would rather not eat anything.
Who you’ll watch in 2017: He will be hopefully and optimistically watching President-elect Donald Trump.
Biggest challenge in 2017: Continuing to be ambitious about the growth of Go Burrito. Wetzel said he is putting the success of the current Go Burrito on the line by franchising and the business landscape is only getting harder. But if other businesses did it, so can he.
Biggest hope for 2017: For Salisbury and other communities to use its talents and resources to solve its own problems. Wetzel said he hopes people will be more self-driven and take advantage of the opportunities around them.
Reaction to making the list: “I think it’s awesome,” Wetzel said. He said he hopes he will truly be an interesting person to watch in 2017.