By Dubby Henry

Brayden Freeman put away every cent he could spare since he started making pizzas at 14.

Thanks to his hard work he's now become the youngest Hell Pizza franchise owner in New Zealand at the age of 21.

Freeman started working part-time at a Christchurch outlet in 2010, working for $12.50 an hour on night shifts and Saturdays.


"I set myself a big goal, which was one day I wanted to buy a house," he said. "Having this big goal helped me save, it was an incentive to put away as much as I can every week."

The store was damaged in the first earthquake but he moved to another Hell store and kept rising up the ranks, until he was regularly putting in 50-60 hours a week - occasionally 80 - as store manager.

Then head office offered him the opportunity to buy the new Hell Pizza store on Hereford St.

"I thought, I've put all this money aside for this dream - why not use it for this instead."

He can't divulge how much he spent but it was more than enough for a house deposit, all earned by the sweat of his brow. Freeman was brought up by a single mum. Although she showered him with love and support she didn't give him a cent to buy the franchise.

"I've never had a father figure, and my mum has always been there physically and emotionally but in terms of money I've never been given anything. No hand outs, that kind of stuff," he told Newstalk ZB.

He expects the store, which opened in July, to be quiet at first. "This part of the city's still pretty broken. But it's going to explode at some point so I'm just waiting."

It was a "bit of a leap" to buy a store at such a young age, he said.

"Its kind of scary but at the same time, it's good to step back and have something to point at and say that's mine."

"Being so young it's quite scary talking to people twice my age, having to get them to listen to me and value my opinion."

The shop has a view of the ruined ChristChurch Cathedral, and a huge Spark building is to be erected across the road.

He's got a reliable team that includes his sister and a flatmate who has worked for the chain for five years. But he's not planning to ease back on the work.

"I definitely don't intend on leaving. I like to work 40-50 hours a week so I don't intend on stepping down at any point."