Hometown Heroes Help Philly Pretzel Factory CEO Make COVID-19 Recovery

We hear the word “hero” used often these days, typically when discussing those on the frontline — healthcare workers, grocery store staff, janitors and maintenance workers, truck drivers and more — who bravely show up every day to fight the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and help those in need.

At times, we can all take things for granted, such as the ability to walk, talk, run, and feel. For Dan DiZio, CEO of Philly Pretzel Factory, even the littlest of things now feel the most important.

DiZio found himself experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19 last Spring. A few days later, DiZio had decided to drive to Jefferson Health in Philadelphia. “I literally left my car in the middle of the street and ran into Jefferson holding my throat thinking I was choking. Really, what it was, my lungs wouldn’t let me breathe,” DiZio said.

That was the last thing the Philly Pretzel Factory CEO remembers before going into a coma for weeks and becoming nearly paralyzed. DiZio was then transferred to Jefferson Health’s Magee Rehabilitation Hospital where he would spend the next month being treated.

“The virus is non-discriminatory regardless of race, age, sex.”

Paula Bonsall, Occupational Therapist at Magee Rehabilitation

The team at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital were able to get DiZio moving again and make a full recovery. Eight months later, DiZio is back to work, back with his family, and back to running. After recovering, DiZio visited the hospital and brought gifts of heart-shaped pretzel bouquets for the whole staff. “I owe them so much and this is just a little thank you to say job well done and they really are hometown heroes,” said DiZio.

About Philly Pretzel Factory

Dan DiZio grew up eating pretzels and started selling them himself in his Philly neighborhood at age eleven. When Dan went away for school, he missed pretzels so much that after graduation he partnered with his college friend, Len Lehman, to build the original Philly Pretzel Factory location in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia. They both were deeply inspired by their love for pretzels and experiences with the original Philly-based pretzel bakeries, leading them to feed locals at all times of day in and around the Philadelphia area. Now, after more than twenty years of twisting, Philly Pretzel Factory is over 170 stores strong and dedicated to improving as they grow across the country. 

Information provided by 6ABC News.


To stop the spread of COVID-19, we encourage you to continue practicing social distancing guidelines, washing your hands and following CDC guidelines. For more information, please visit the CDC’s website.