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Feature Story:

Multi-Unit Master Franchisee Bill Sole »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Bill Sole has been an Anago Cleaning Systems master franchisee for nine years. He opened his first franchise in 2005 in the Bay Area of Northern California, and today his commercial cleaning operation consists of 70 unit franchisees servicing more than 350 facilities in the Bay Area. The Anago Cleaning Systems is a commercial cleaning franchise brand that supports more than 35 master franchises and 2,400 unit franchisees throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Sole has just become the master franchisee for the Inland Empire area where he will service the counties of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ontario. His blend of strong business acumen and years of running successful Anago Master Franchises in San Jose and Greater Oakland in the Bay Area have created the foundation to drive new business ventures in this market...

Feature Story:

He Likes To Teach: U.S. Army Vet Prefers A Hands-On Approach »

By Debbie Selinsky

Jim Lager doesn't talk about himself a lot, but will allow that he's "pretty good at taking lousy businesses and turning them into something." Also, he says, "I'm not a 'maintain' kind of guy--I hire people to maintain. But helping people succeed is something I want to be remembered for."
Lager, a U.S. Army veteran and natural entrepreneur, knew he wanted to start his own business and work in a hands-on environment after his military stint in Germany. Back home, he earned an MBA from the University of Minnesota through the GI Bill, then signed on as Snap-On Tools franchisee in Plano, Tex.
As he grew his Snap-On business, Lager noticed the similarities between Snap-On and Pirtek USA, a mobile hydraulic and pneumatic hose repair brand...

Feature Story:

American Dreamer: Sharing The Wealth With Employees And Community »

By Debbie Selinsky

Nachhattar Chandi is not exaggerating when he describes his story as one that began with "colossal odds" and resulted in "triumph."
From walking 3 miles to school on India's dirt roads to founding and running a multimillion dollar business in his new country, Chandi believes his life embodies the American Dream. He came to the U.S. in 1991 and became a manager at a small gas station in Coachella, Calif. Three years later he owned the station and converted it into his first ARCO am/pm franchise.
Since then, Chandi, with his wife Susana and four children, has continued to build the business, creating hundreds of jobs in his Southern California communities. Today, the 43-year-old operates 17 ARCO am/pm locations, 3 Del Tacos, 6 Express Tunnel Car Washes, and one Subway...

Feature Story:

A Valued Leader: Craig Joy Takes Care Of Guests And His Employees »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

You'll find Craig Joy with his sleeves rolled up working alongside his employees at his Checkers restaurants in Florida. The multi-unit franchisee takes a people-driven approach to running his business and, as a result, maintains a very high retention rate for his employees.
His franchisor loves him too. "We're lucky to have him," says Checkers Vice President for Franchise Development Jennifer Durham. "Crew members look to him as an inspirational leader. He gives them an opportunity to grow more than the average fast-food job. He cares about his people and really gives them an opportunity to grow professionally."
And it's clear that Joy, Checkers' 2013 Franchisee of the Year, takes pleasure in new, more efficient ways to operate his six restaurants in the Tampa area...

Feature Story:

Second Time Around: Husband-and-Wife Team Join Forces As Sport Clips Franchisees »

By Debbie Selinsky

Bobby and Lori Forrest came well-prepared for their second careers as multi-unit franchisees for Sport Clips. The couple grew up in Texas and met at Texas A&M University, where he graduated with a degree in engineering technology and she earned her master's in land economics and real estate.
As they approached 50 and decided to begin building their own business, they looked no further than the place where he gets his haircuts. "I was a customer and I liked the concept," he says. "We also liked their conservative approach of having franchisees continue to work their regular jobs until the shop was up and running. It took the pressure off the first couple of years while we were learning."
So after 27 years in sales and management with electronic components distributor, Bobby retired and joined forces with Lori, a commercial real estate appraiser, to buy two corporate Sport Clips salons and open a third...

Feature Story:

Franchise Development: Larry Lee Grows His McAlister's Restaurants From Texas Into New Mexico »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Larry Lee knows a great location when he sees one. After all, he was in real estate and shopping center development before he became a franchisee.
"Great locations will offset everything else," says the Texan, who has 16 McAlister's deli locations open, with plans to add two dozen more by 2015 as he expands beyond his base in Texas and New Mexico. Lee first ate in a McAlister's at one of his San Antonio shopping centers. "No matter how great your marketing is, you can't market your way out of a bad location," he says.
Lee says his learning curve as he entered franchising was relatively easy. "Franchising was a little new, but I knew about the real estate, of course, and the financing requirements. Dealing with a franchisor was a little different but that's gone well, too," he says...

Feature Story:

Man Of Many Hats: Former NFL Pro Thrives With Lots Of Balls In The Air »

By Debbie Selinsky

When you look at the life and career of multi-unit franchisee Don Davey, you'll notice a pattern. From professional football (he was an NFL defensive tackle for 10 years) to his 20-unit ownership of Firehouse Subs franchises to the six Ironman competitions he's completed, everything requires discipline, tenacity, focus, and a competitive nature.
Sound tough? Not to Davey, who was named the 2013 IFA's Franchisee of the Year. In fact, he eats it up. "As an entrepreneur, I love being completely responsible for both our successes and our failures. It's stressful, but extremely rewarding," he says.
"Some people look at my life as hectic and chaotic," says Davey, who earned bachelor and master's degrees in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison...

Feature Story:

Flight Path: Air Force Couple Splits Time Between Flying And Operating Mosquito Joe Franchise »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Jeff Deiters, 50, is a Chicago-native who has been flying planes for as long as he can remember and spends a bulk of his time up in the sky. He and his wife, Annette, met at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, and are both veterans. After 22 years of flying for the United States Air Force out of Andrews Air Force base in Maryland - including flying Air Force One and many senator and cabinet members - Jeff is now a corporate pilot, flying for brands such as Under Armour and Choice Hotels. Annette flies Boeing 767s internationally out of Washington-Dulles airport for United Airlines.
While the couple still flies extensively, they wanted to fill their time on the ground with a supplemental business opportunity and started exploring new ventures for ownership...

Feature Story:

Brand Builder: Big Expansion Plans Ahead For Multi-State Operator »

By Debbie Selinsky

Larry Lee had a built-in advantage when he leveraged his career in real estate and shopping center development to include franchising.
"Great locations will offset everything else," says the Texan, who has 16 McAlister's deli locations open, with plans to add two dozen more by 2015 as he expands beyond his base in Texas and New Mexico. Lee first ate in a McAlister's at one of his San Antonio shopping centers. "No matter how great your marketing is, you can't market your way out of a bad location," he says.
Lee says his learning curve as he entered franchising was relatively easy. "Franchising was a little new, but I knew about the real estate, of course, and the financing requirements. Dealing with a franchisor was a little different but that's gone well, too," he says...

Feature Story:

Cleaning Up: Joe Weiss Craves And Finds New Challenge In Chem-Dry Franchise »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Joe Weiss is another one of those successful people who got started in the corporate world and did well. But there was something different he was seeking. So he began exploring opportunities in franchising and after 5 years working in the corporate arena for Verizon Wireless, he took the plunge and bought his first Chem-Dry franchise. That was in 2005. He now has 11 territories in Michigan where he's excelling in business and enjoying life with his wife and two children.


Name: Joe Weiss
Title: Owner
Company: Chem-Dry of Washtenaw, Chem-Dry of Livingston, and Chem-Dry of Northwest Wayne County
No. of units by brand: 11
Age: 40 years old
Family: Married to Elizabeth Weiss with two children, 7 and 4...

Feature Story:

Del Taco Man: Franchisee, Franchisor, Family Man, Innovator »

By Debbie Selinsky

If Del Taco were a sports team, Paul Hitzelberger would not only be its MVP, he'd also be the GM and coach. For the past three decades, he's been on both sides of the business, as franchisor and franchisee, playing a leading role in helping the brand grow to more than 540 restaurants in 17 states.
After serving 15 years as chief marketing officer for Del Taco, he retired, but it didn't stick. In 2001, the Chicago-born entrepreneur started a new career as a franchisee, buying eight Del Taco locations in Utah. "The only partner I have now is my wife," he says, adding that he has an "outstanding" relationship with Del Taco and loves the product.
A former senior officer with General Mills and franchisor at Coast to Coast stores, Hitzelberger has earned franchisee accolades over the years, regularly posting the highest average volume within the Del Taco system...

Feature Story:

Against The Odds: ServiceMaster Franchisee Sets Records And Sails To Success »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Dan Fry entered the world of franchising knowing very little about the business. He was warned of the odds of succeeding in a new business but he didn't let that stop him or hold him back in anyway. He excelled first as a ServiceMaster franchisee and became one of the brand's top 200 franchisees after only one year in business. He's maintained that growth rate over the last 12 years and has earned numerous franchise growth and excellence awards. His newest business venture is as a Furniture Medic franchisee and he's excelling again. He has already set a record for the highest first year revenue of any new franchisee and been recognized with the brand's Rookie of the Year Award.


Name: Dan Fry
Title: Owner/Partner
Company: ServiceMaster Advanced Restorations, LP
(Also: Furniture Medic by Wood Restore, LLC)
Location/Territory: Dallas/Fort Worth
No...

Feature Story:

On A Mission: Michael Kulp Takes Care Of Business And His People »

By Debbie Selinsky

Michael Kulp thinks big. While some business executives are looking at what to cut because of rising payroll and healthcare costs, Kulp, president and CEO of KBP Foods, a $250 million restaurant company with units in nine states, is taking an "inverse" approach.
"We're using our growth as a vehicle to handle costs rather than shrinking the business down," says the 38-year-old Colorado native. "We're making sure that our growth and cash flow outpace the costs of healthcare and payroll." This approach illustrates what Kulp finds most rewarding about his job, he says. "Our mission is to develop our people personally, professionally, and financially."
With that goal in mind, KBP Foods, which includes nearly 300 KFCs, Taco Bells, and Long John Silver's, took another major step...

Feature Story:

Big Operator, Bigger Heart: Family, Philanthropy, Diversity, And Drive »

By Debbie Selinsky

Tony Lutfi, who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, is one of the most successful QSR franchisees in the country, rapidly growing his five food brands to market domination and record revenues.
Lutfi, who first ventured into franchise ownership in the early 1990s as a franchisee of Arby’s and Long John Silver’s in Northern California, now owns a whopping 130-plus restaurants in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Missouri.
No one-trick pony, in 2011 began diversifying his portfolio beyond food, and just 3 years later operates a total of 29 Sears retail stores: 17 Sears Home Appliance Showrooms, 3 Sears Appliance & Hardware stores, and 9 Sears Outlet stores.
His MarLu Investment Group was able to accomplish such rapid growth across brands because, he says, “We keep the same focus on culture that has kept us in business and away from trouble...

Feature Story:

Renaissance Man: Paul Hitzelberger Draws On A Broad Base Of Knowledge, Skills, And Experience »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

The list of accomplishments is long for Paul Hitzelberger. He was a senior officer with General Mills, part of the Coast to Coast franchise, turned Osco Drug Stores in the Central Illinois region from worst of 13 to best in less than two years, was selected for the company's Hall of Fame, and went on to engineer 15 years of consecutive same-store sales increases at Del Taco. To use a sports metaphor, Hitzelberger is an All Star.
For the past three decades, he's been on both sides of the business, as franchisor and franchisee, playing a leading role in helping the Del Taco brand grow to more than 540 restaurants in 17 states.
After serving 15 years as chief marketing officer for Del Taco, he retired, but it didn't stick. In 2001, the Chicago-born entrepreneur started a new career as a franchisee, buying eight Del Taco locations in Utah...

Feature Story:

2014 MVP Awards: Honoring Outstanding Multi-Unit Performers »

By Kerry Pipes & Eddy Goldberg

The best franchisees are some of the hardest-working and kindest people around. They provide customers with consistent products and services, give back to their communities, and provide jobs for thousands of employees. Each year we recognize outstanding multi-unit franchisees with our MVP (Most Valuable Performer) Awards. We thank Comcast Business Services for sponsoring the awards. Here's a preview of this year's winners.

Noble Cause Award
Sam Anabi was a police officer before becoming a franchisee. He now has 200 gas stations and 23 restaurants (Del Taco and Subway). His people-centered approach shows in how he cares for his employees, customers, and the needy in the communities where he operates.

American Dream Award
Nachhattar Chandi has come a long way from walking 3 miles to school on India's dirt roads...

Feature Story:

Running A Business: Overcoming Life Challenges To Succeed In Franchising »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Natalie Ehrlich knows what it's like to overcome difficult times in her life. One of the most challenging periods she ever faced was when she was a single mother studying to earn her Ph.D. while raising her son at the same time. She says it was a tough time that taught her the importance of hard work and dedication and ultimately helped shape the person she is today.
As we continue to interview and profile franchisees who think outside the brick and mortar box, we checked in with Ehrlich, an Oxi Fresh franchisee who recently ran 42 marathons in just 12 months. Here's more about her.

Name: Natalie Jo Ehrlich
Title: President and Owner
Company: Oxi Fresh of Phoenix, East Valley, and Northern Arizona
No...

Feature Story:

Keep On Truckin': David Griffin And His Family Persevere And Prosper »

By Kerry Pipes

Four years ago David Griffin had just purchased 25 Jiffy Lube stores in Colorado. The stores were underperforming, some were dilapidated, and the U.S. economy still at one of its all-time lows. Those factors created a perfect storm for Griffin to expand--but it wasn't a walk in the park.
"We've spent the last three years reviving those units, and it has been a monumental task," says the 56-year-old today. Griffin says it took millions of dollars to turn around those 25 struggling locations--and the process tested both the company and his family, which is deeply involved in the business. "I'm still working right alongside my wife Joye and my three sons," he says. "We are today's family farm."
The effort paid off, says Griffin. "Sales at those 25 stores had been in a double-digit dive prior to us taking them over...

Feature Story:

A New Shade: John Sullivan Finds Flexibility And Success In ProTect Painters Franchise »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

John Sullivan is a Midwesterner with a background in retail and corporate America. He moved to St. Louis following college and began his career with Macy's department stores. He went on to work in the plastics industry for companies like Dow Chemical and Rohm and Hass over the next 12 years. But it was when his executive level position required extensive travel that he began to reassess his career. He began looking for a way he could be at home more with his family. Franchising proved to be the perfect solution.
Three years ago Sullivan became a ProTect Painters franchisee and has loved every minute of it. He says he has a much more flexible schedule and that much of what he learned in the corporate world has helped him become a successful franchisee...

Feature Story:

Women At The Top: Cheryl Bachelder »

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