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Feature Story:

The Power Of More: Multi-unit Operators Branch Out, Brand Up »

By Kerry Pipes and Eddy Goldberg

Franchising is easy: all it takes is a lot of blood, sweat, and overcoming fears to open and successfully operate a franchise unit--not to mention multiple units of a single brand. But for a certain breed of entrepreneurs, one brand is not enough. Usually, they're seeking to minimize risk. But sometimes it's the challenge of managing several brands, providing a variety of products and services, and learning best practices from different systems. Or maybe they're just gluttons for punishment (ask any multi-brand operator).
Multi-brand franchising offers not only a diversified portfolio that reduces organizational risks, but also the economies of scale that make a big difference to the bottom line. But as with any successful business, it takes talent, hard work, capital, and a healthy, functioning infrastructure...

Feature Story:

Massage, Tan, Joints, And Lashes »

By Kerry Pipes

"Significant growth is imminent"

Randy Merrill feels good about the health, wellness, and fitness space he operates in. He says the business models work for him, the client base works for him, and the ROI works for him. It's tough to beat that combination.
When we last visited with Merrill (Q2 2011), he was busy operating a single Massage Heights spa and 14 Solar Dimensions Tanning salons (non-franchised) with his partner, Alex Royter. He also had one Cartridge World store, which he sold because, he says, "It was a lot of work and the margins were just too small." Meanwhile, he's opened a second Massage Heights and has added four The Joint chiropractic clinics--all since 2014. An Atlanta native, he has kept his operations close to home, all in the Greater Atlanta area...

Feature Story:

Making A Sub For A Good Cause »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

It was a $100,000 sub sandwich for a good cause.
Last week, Jersey Mike's Subs Founder and CEO Peter Cancro fresh sliced a $100,000 sub for No Kid Hungry, an organization committed to ending childhood hunger. It was just another chapter in a brand that believes that making a sub sandwich and making a difference can be one and the same.
Cancro was fulfilling a pledge he made in March while speaking at an industry conference. There, Cancro unexpectedly announced on stage in front of thousands of attendees that he would donate $100,000 to the charity if Tom Nelson, president of No Kid Hungry/Share Our Strength and David Jobe, president of Winsight Events, joined him at the company's Jersey Shore home to make subs.
Following the sub-making lesson, Cancro presented the check...

Feature Story:

Franchisee Becomes "Part Of The Solution" »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Patrick Risko knew his aging parents were going to need help. But like thousands of families encounter every year, he discovered that help can be hard to find.
"I soon realized that senior care was a common challenge that many families faced," says Risko. "As part of researching the best way to help, I realized that I wanted to be part of the solution not just for my parents but for New Haven families faced with similar challenges."
So after nearly two decades working in the banking industry, he left that life behind to pursue his new passion of helping other seniors and their families.  His research led him to FirstLight HomeCare, which has more than 130 locations in 30 states. The brand provides quality, affordable, non-medical in-home care for adults...

Feature Story:

It's A Tax Turnaround For Ken Leese »

By Kerry Pipes

Any tax accountant will tell you that the past five years have been tough times for their business. That was certainly true for Jackson Hewitt multi-unit franchisee Ken Leese.
"With the state of the economy, you look at how fewer people working translates into fewer tax returns that need preparing," says the 47-year-old Jackson Hewitt franchisee. "Our business has struggled somewhat to remain status quo, and one of the realities we discovered is that the tax business is not so recession-proof." Regardless, Leese has remained steadfast and has made calculated and strategic moves since we profiled him in 2010.
He's divested all of his Delaware territories and replaced them with Jackson Hewitt units in Southern New Jersey, his home base...

Feature Story:

'Sweet' Franchising Opportunities In Los Angeles And San Diego »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Baskin-Robbins, the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, is seeking entrepreneurs to develop new and existing ice cream shops in Southern California. Specifically, the brand is seeking candidates who are looking for opportunities in Glendora, Long Beach, Oceanside, and Pico Rivera. Sites in the San Diego market are also up for grabs. The brand has more than 7,500 retail shops in nearly 50 countries.
"We're looking for motivated entrepreneurs who have a passion for their local communities to join our team and take advantage of the many perks that Baskin-Robbins offers," said Grant Benson, CFE, vice president of global franchising and business development, Dunkin' Brands. "This is a great opportunity for anyone who has ever thought about owning his or her own ice cream shop...

Feature Story:

Shahid Hashmi Has His Eye On 100 Popeyes »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

"I wish I had started my career in franchising 10 years earlier," says Shahid Hashmi today.
But he's doing his best to make the most of his time now. The multi-unit franchisee, whose holdings in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions include 45 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchens, 2 Burger Kings, 2 Retro Fitness gyms, and, most recently, ZIPS Dry Cleaners, has hatched an aggressive growth plan that he predicts will top $150 million in revenue in the next 10 years.
Armed with two MBAs and 20 years of financial experience in the telecom industry, Hashmi considered his initial foray into franchising an investment, when he opened a Popeyes store in Washington, D.C., in 1994. He soon would quit his day job after discovering he needed to be more than just a weekend boss...

Feature Story:

Partners And Friends: 30-year Relationship Blossoms In Perennial Success »

By Helen Bond

Partners and Friends: 30-year Relationship Blossoms in Perennial Success

By Helen Bond

Franchisees looking for insights into succeeding with a partner can learn a thing or two from multi-brand franchisees Judy Ewing-Lonetti and Sandy Dunn. Mutual respect is the cornerstone of their 30-year business relationship. They know they wouldn't be where they are today without one another.
Their company, Charlotte-based Ewing-Dunn, is a mainstay at North Carolina's Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where they operate coveted food franchise locations under three different brands: Brioche Dorée, Cinnabon, and TCBY. In the coming months, they will add an Auntie Anne's and at least one additional food franchise when construction is completed on a new concourse at the airport, which set an all-time record in 2014 with more than 44 million travelers...

Feature Story:

Meineke Car Care Exceeds Fundraising Goal At Annual Charity Golf Tournament »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Earlier this summer, Driven Brands 17th Annual Charity Golf Tournament was held to support the Driven Brands Charitable Foundation. Driven Brands' Meineke Car Care brand raised $72,000 for The Children's Miracle Network. The donation will help support the hospital network that treats children who require care, whether they are battling cancer, suffering from a traumatic injury, or are living with a genetic disease.
As part of a multi-million dollar fundraising commitment benefitting the 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals) across the United States and Canada, Meineke asked its vendors, franchisees, and friends to participate in a golf tournament that benefits Children dealing with illnesses and other afflictions...

Feature Story:

Arooga's Grille House & Sports Bar Coming To New York »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

JGJO Development Co. LLC, has signed an agreement that will bring at least 10 Arooga's Grille House & Sports Bar locations to Long Island (Nassau/Suffolk Counties) and Queens areas of New York. This marks the brand's fourth multi-unit franchise agreement and its sixth state.
The JGJO agreement, under the direction of Joseph A. Alagna, Jr. and Stephan A. Stein, gives the Arooga's brand a total of 44 units, 10 corporate and 34 franchise locations, either built or under contract. Alagna and Stein are the principals of Joseph Gunnar & Co., the Wall Street brokerage and investment banking firm, and the general partners of Buttonwood, a private equity venture capital fund.
Alagna, chairman and CEO said, "We are thrilled to partner with Arooga's and are anxious to bring the exciting Arooga's experience to the Long Island, New York marketplace...

Feature Story:

KBP Foods Adds Two Dozen Restaurants In Three States »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Overland Park, Kan-based KBP Foods, LLC, is making news again. The group has just inked a deal that adds 24 more units to its portfolio, bringing its total quick serve restaurant count to 247 units across 10 states.

The new deal includes 24 restaurants in Kansas, Missouri, and Florida that were acquired from D-Carr Investments and related entities. The acquired units include all three restaurants under YUM! Brands, as well as Long John Silver's franchises. The move means KBP Foods now operates franchise locations in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

"KBP's success by growth-through-acquisition strategy has been incredibly successful, and this acquisition is right in line with our business model," said Barry Dubin, KBP Foods chief development officer...

Feature Story:

Steve Sager Continues His Innovative Ways And Successful Growth »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Steve Sager is a franchise veteran who has seen it all and successfully lived to tell about it. He's also a serial innovator and his ideas are quickly successful and scalable. For example, he championed Subway's innovative $5 footlong sandwich as a nationwide promotion and pioneered the brand's use of speedy ovens to offer customers toasted subs in a flash.
So when Sager says he sees financial promise in a new fast casual pizza franchise, you might want to listen. Sager, who owns 16 Subways in South Florida and 7 Auntie Anne's in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, is in on the ground floor of a development plan for Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria, a create-your-own, handcrafted pizza concept out of Santa Barbara.
At Subway, Sager opened 265 stores over the years as a development agent and has grown accustomed to fielding queries from franchising candidates seeking his funding and expertise...

Feature Story:

Anand Gala Is Bringing It All Back Home »

By Kerry Pipes

Anand Gala is a perfect example of taking one step back and two steps forward. In the last 5 years, he sold all of his Applebee's restaurants, centralized his holdings, and then doubled his number of Famous Dave's locations. It was all part of a calculated effort to simplify, sharpen, and renew his business focus. "It was really a simple story of taking a step back and reassessing where I am," he says.
At the beginning of 2010, Gala and his company were coming out of the recession and picking up steam. He had 19 Applebee's, 5 Famous Dave's, and 3 Del Taco locations. But he says with units spread across several western states he was looking to bring his operation back home when an unexpected offer came his way.
"We had been going through the massive reimaging program rolled out by Applebee's with all of our locations," he says...

Feature Story:

McAlister's Deli Grows Big In Southeast »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

McAlister's Deli is on the grow and has signed several more development agreements with new and existing franchisees to open restaurants in Southern Georgia, North, Central, and Southwest Florida.
Summerville, SC-based franchise group DMAC, LLC, which already operates McAlister's Deli locations across South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia, will be opening several more of their restaurants between Southern Georgia and North Florida. The brand also signed development agreements with two new franchise groups to open restaurants on the west coast of Florida between Naples and Sarasota, and in Orlando.
New franchisees Christina Berry, Mark Graff, and Jeff Paulsen bring to McAlister's an extensive experience in multi-unit restaurant management with Steak n Shake, as well as a background in commercial and residential property development...

Feature Story:

Franchisee Has Brought Bruegger's Bagels To Raleigh-Durham »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Kevin Green left his job in education back in 2006. He was looking for change in his life and said he wanted to "control my destiny by building a business." He's done well so far and never looked back. Today he operates four Bruegger's Bagels in Raleigh-Durham. He says he is most proud of opening four locations in five years, increasing sales each year, and being recognized as franchisee of the year in 2011.

Name: Kevin Green
Title: Owner
Company: I own and operate four Bruegger's Bagels in the Raleigh-Durham market. My official company name is Carolina Bagels.
No. of units by brand: Four Bruegger's Bagels
Age: 44
Family: My kids occasionally spend time working with me in the shops.
Years in franchising: Prior to investing in Bruegger's Bagels franchises, I was a special education teacher...

Feature Story:

A Brand For All Seasons: Taxes And Mosquitoes Provide Year-Round Revenue »

By Helen Bond

When it comes to operating multiple brands, Craig Comer has discovered that differences can attract--profits, that is, for his two very different service brands.
Comer, who owns five Liberty Tax stores in Detroit and the surrounding suburbs, was itching to diversify when a postcard arrived in the mail from Mosquito Joe. Comer had considered the pest control company as a potential brand. Then a summertime phone call to his dad to discuss the opportunity sealed the deal.
"My cell reception in the house wasn't very good," says Comer. "So I went outside in the evening to talk and I got bitten alive by mosquitoes."
In July 2013, Comer took a road trip to Virginia Beach to meet company founder Kevin Wilson, who had launched the franchise system earlier that year...

Feature Story:

Guillermo Medellin Growing Russo's New York Pizzeria In Houston »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Guillermo Medellin came to the United States from Mexico searching for the American dream. Though he had no previous experience in franchising, he applied his business knowledge and work ethic and purchased his first Russo's New York Pizzeria in Houston in 2009. Today he operates three successful locations and is looking for more. He's a hands-on operator who is in his stores every day and has a passion for customer service and for seeing his people grow through advancement.


Name: Guillermo Medellin
Title: Owner
Company: Russo's New York Pizzeria is the brand name - each location is under a different company name
No. of units by brand: Three
Age: 44
Family: Wife (Debra), and two daughters ages 8 and 11

Years in franchising: My background is in manufacturing...

Feature Story:

Just Be-Cause: Cause Marketing Is Making A Difference »

By Kerry Pipes

Doing good is a longtime pursuit in America. You might even say it's a part of the culture. Americans love a good cause and like to help when they can. Whenever needs arise, there always seem to be businesses, organizations, and private citizens ready to come forward to lend a hand. And in the past couple of decades, businesses, especially franchises, have been getting more and more involved in supporting charitable causes.
It makes sense, both personally and for business. Franchises are local operations, most run by people who are part of the community. As a result, many franchise brands and tens of thousands of franchisees have become involved with good causes. Sometimes those causes are global, national or regional, but more often they are local and franchisees and franchisors alike are there to step in...

Feature Story:

Largest Singly-Owned Domino's Franchisee In The U.S. On People And Success »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Mike Orcutt has experienced franchising from both sides of the fence. First as a corporate executive for Domino's and, since 1990, as a Domino's franchisee. He admits he was a "little nervous" about how the managers of the nine Atlanta pizza stores he purchased would welcome their new boss. Orcutt gathered the group in a small hotel meeting room and gave them their first assignment: name his new company.
"I said, 'You are the ones who are going to have to make it work. So let's come up with something that we can be proud of and have fun with,'" recalls Orcutt, a self-described quick decision-maker. The managers brainstormed some 200 monikers before selecting Cowabunga, Inc.
Orcutt, who previously led U.S. store operations for the country's second-largest pizza chain, tacked on "Team" to the front of the name and never looked back...

Feature Story:

SRG Brings Newk's Eatery To Louisiana And Texas »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Southeast Restaurant Group, a franchisee of TGI Fridays and Chevys Fresh Mex restaurants in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, has signed on to become the Newk's Eatery chain's largest franchisee.
The New Orleans-based Southeast Restaurant Group (SRG) plans to open 15 Newk's locations throughout Southern Louisiana and Houston. The new agreement will make SRG Newk's largest franchisee. In addition to its franchise brands, SRG also operates its own concepts including a Mediterranean-style restaurant in the Miami area, a Creole-inspired restaurant in New Orleans, and The Round House Bar & Grill, located in the Holiday Inn Hotels owned by its affiliate, KFK Group.
"Newk's is a forward-thinking franchise concept designed for the way people eat today, and adds a fast casual element to our restaurant portfolio," says SRG Founder Elie Khoury...



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