HELL Hereford Street opened its doors on 10 July, becoming the pizza chain’s eighth store in the Christchurch region and the first in its CBD.​ Owned by 21-year-old Brayden Freeman, the youngest franchisee in the network, the store is also the first in the South Island to sell HELL Pizza-by-the-Slice.

Despite his young age, Brayden’s passion, drive and community focus make him a “perfect fit” for the role, said HELL general manager Ben Cumming.

“We couldn't have picked a better person for the job,” said Cumming. “Brayden is a committed local resident, who shares our excitement in this new venture and who has risen through the ranks within the HELL family.

“It will be a challenge, given the current climate of central Christchurch, but Brayden is looking forward to the prospect and determined to help the city get its buzz back.”​

Mr Freeman said he is “nervous but excited” about the opportunity ahead of him and believes the location can be a hot spot for HELL’s Pizza-by-the-Slice.

“I want the store to help draw people back into the city centre,” said Mr Freeman. “The earthquakes really drained our community. This is an opportunity to help reinject some life back into the heart of Christchurch and help bring the community together.”

“I think Pizza-by-the-Slice is a great fit for our city, because it will be attractive to everyone from office workers and students to tourists and anyone else looking for a quick, tasty snack.

“We’re hoping it will bring more people to our door. We want our store to have a real buzz to it.”