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Success Stories

Feature Story:

Survive And Thrive: Adversity Teaches Its Own Lessons »

By Kerry Pipes

In 2009, Charles Loflin's life was in high gear and he was racking up one success after another. Then his wife got cancer.
"That was a real sobering wake-up call for me," says the 45-year-old multi-unit franchisee today, who quickly realized there was more to life than operating a successful business.
Together the Loflins faced the cancer, beat it, and his wife is now a cancer-free survivor. But that wasn't the only outcome of this life-changing event. Loflin had just opened two very successful Einstein Bros. stores and had five more to go in his agreement. He sold those stores back to the company, refocused exclusively on Wingstop, and began spending more time and energy enjoying his wife and two children.
"I'm a very driven person...

Feature Story:

Lemons To Lemonade: Eric Holm Squeezes Out A Great Business Success Story »

By Debbie Selinsky

Thirty Golden Corral restaurants, $155 million in sales annually, and providing jobs for more than 3,000 people would most certainly qualify as a success story for Eric Holm.
But when you ask the Winter Park, Fla., resident about his life and career, he's just as likely to tell you about his two bankruptcies, or the time his independent restaurant fell into a sinkhole, as he is to tell you that he is the most awarded franchisee in Golden Corral history.
"I've been broke two times in my life and I didn't enjoy either one of them," he says. "But I didn't hang out and have a pity party. I got out and went to work and tried different things to be successful. I guess you could say I actually 'failed forward.'"
So, Holm, who has been Golden Corral's Franchisee of the Year eight times and the highest-volume operator in the system for the past 15 years, urges restaurateurs and would-be franchisees to understand that failure is a learning tool...

Feature Story:

Going Retro: NFL Quarterback Signs Deal To Open Multiple Retro Fitness Clubs »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

For NFL Quarterback David Garrard, there's no such thing as "retirement." His short break from the NY Jets, starting in May and ending in October, proves that he's not good at sitting back and doing nothing. Along with his football training, he has been working with business advisors to find his next big off-the-field endeavor."But it had to be the right opportunity," says the 35-year-old Garrard, best known for his 2007-2010 stint as starting quarterback with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who drafted him as a fourth round pick in 2002 directly following his graduation from East Carolina University.
That ideal opportunity turned out to be Retro Fitness, a rapidly growing U.S. fitness chain known for providing its members with all the valuable amenities of a high-end gym, minus the hefty price tag...

Feature Story:

Compassionate Leader: Domino's Franchisee Dominates With A Kind And Gentle Hand »

By Debbie Selinsky

Mary Lynne Carraway's 74 Domino's Pizza restaurants may dominate the Washington, D.C., market, but she runs her 1,800-employee business, Domino's Pizza Team Washington, with a kind and gentle approach to success.
For example, the mother of four--who stepped into the company's leadership position after the death of her husband David from brain cancer--was the first to comfort the family members of two employees who were shot on the job and to assure nervous employees that all possible safety measures were being taken to ensure their well-being.
"Since I've been doing this job, there have been deep, hard places I've had to go. When someone gets hurt, it's crushing," she says. "You go on, but your heart never stops feeling the sadness for the others going through such difficult things...

Feature Story:

Gentle Giant: Mary Lynne Carraway's Domino's Operation Rules With Compassion »

By Debbie Selinsky

Mary Lynn Carraway is a successful Domino's franchisee with 74 locations in the Washington, D.C., area. But she may be even more well-known for the way she treats her 1,800 employees - with a kind and nurturing approach. It's a formula that spells success anyway you looks at it.
For example, the mother of four--who stepped into the company's leadership position after the death of her husband David from brain cancer--was the first to comfort the family members of two employees who were shot on the job and to assure nervous employees that all possible safety measures were being taken to ensure their well-being.
"Since I've been doing this job, there have been deep, hard places I've had to go. When someone gets hurt, it's crushing," she says...

Feature Story:

Sooner Expansion: Zaxby's Franchisees Moving Into Oklahoma »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Two Zaxby's franchisee partners with ties to the brand's corporate office are growing again.
Veteran ZFI multi-unit franchisees Ben Williams Sr. and Bill McGeary, joined by Ben Williams Jr., signed a deal this fall that gives them exclusive rights to northeast Oklahoma, including the DMA of Tulsa. This deal is the second new state and multi-unit deal in the past 60 days for Zaxby's, the Athens, Ga.-based, fast-casual restaurant brand.
Williams Sr. and McGeary currently own and operate Zaxby's stores in Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi. Williams' son, Bill Jr., will be a new partner in the Oklahoma deal. Plans call for the three Oklahoma stores to open within the next 18 months and additional stores are slated.
Williams Sr...

Feature Story:

Baptism By Fire: Dunkin's West Pioneer Learns To Thrive Despite The Economy »

By Debbie Selinsky

Multi-unit franchisee Jason Duffy may only be 38 years old, but he could write a book about being successful in business during tough economic times. After all, "that's all I've known as a franchisee, since I opened my first Dunkin' Donuts store in Phoenix on Aug. 15, 2008, during the worst economic times in 60 or 70 years," he says.
Having survived his baptism by fire and come out ahead, Duffy, recently named one of the 40 Under 40 to watch by the Phoenix Business Journal, now has 51 Dunkin' Donuts stores in four western states.
His path to franchising began with a fateful meeting nearly 20 years ago with John Luther, who would later become president, CEO and chair of Dunkin' Donuts. A 19-year-old Duffy, who was working his way through college back east in Amherst, started a gutter-cleaning business...

Feature Story:

Against The Odds: Steve Baliva Helped His Community Through Hurricane Sandy »

By Debbie Selinsky

Steve Baliva knew Hurricane Sandy was on its way and headed for the New Jersey coast. So he huddled with team members from his area T.G.I. Friday's restaurants to prepare for what many forecasted to be the storm of the century.
"We knew it was coming and thought that we had five restaurants in the path of it," says the Tom's River, N.J., resident. "Turns out we had seven--five in Jersey and two on the border of the Pennsylvania side. We were laying up plans to close down on Sunday, Oct. 29, since we knew we'd lose power."
Baliva, T.G.I. Friday's 2011 Franchisee of the Year and vice president of restaurant operations for Metz Culinary Management, lives within 10 minutes of several of the restaurants. So on Tuesday he headed out to check on things...

Feature Story:

Failed Forward »

By Debbie Selinsky

Golden Corral Franchisee Leverages ‘hard Knocks’ Into System’s Biggest Success Story


By Most Anyone’s Definition, Eric Holm Is A Business Success Story. The Winter Park, Fla., Man Owns 30 Golden Corral Restaurants, Bringing In $155 Million In Annual Sales And Providing Jobs For More Than 3,000 Workers In Georgia And Florida.
But When You Ask Him About His Life And Career, Holm Is Just As Likely To Tell You About His Two Bankruptcies Or The Time His Independent Restaurant Fell Into A Sinkhole As He Is To Tell You That He Is The Most Awarded Franchisee In Golden Corral History.
“i’ve Been Broke Two Times In My Life And I Didn’t Enjoy Either One Of Them,” He Says. “but I Didn’t Hang Out And Have A Pity Party...

Feature Story:

Pathway To Success: Spencer Smith Follows The System And Gets Results »

By Debbie Selinsky

Spencer Smith may be quiet and unassuming but don't let that fool you. On the inside he's a savvy business operator who has been successful with multi-units and multi-brands and has earned his success by following "the program" and the Golden Rule. The 2013 winner of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Role Model MVP Award, he says following the program is a simple, yet powerful concept.
"Years ago, I read an article about franchising and some of the mistakes people make," says Smith, who opened 39 Aaron's and two Big O Tires stores across 8 western states--all in under 9 years. "I gleaned from that article that when you buy into a franchise, you're buying into doing business that particular way. If you have to be a maverick and reinvent the wheel all the time, both you and the franchisor will be frustrated...

Feature Story:

Dominant Theme: Six Multi-Unit Operators Tell How They Take Territories And Own Them! »

By Kerry Pipes

Domination is the battle plan. In this issue we once again take a look at franchisees intent on being the big boy, leading the pack, or simply, market domination - and where they do it. We've identified 6 multi-unit franchisees (two we've spoken with before). These franchisees aren't interested in just opening a store, they want to be the player in their cities and territories. If that means opening more stores, then that's what they do.
We took them to ask on why they chose the brands they did, how they took on their territories, how they've strategized their growth, and what lies ahead in their plans. They are tactical, savvy, and love attacking challenges.
Every time we put together this annual issue it's amazing to discover the tales of business discovery, determination, turnaround, shakeouts, and bare-knuckle expansion...

Feature Story:

Head West, Young Man: Danny Sonenshine Conquers California And Heads For The Pacific Islands »

By Kerry Pipes

Danny Sonenshine clearly remembers his father encouraging him to look into franchising back in the early 2000's. The elder Sonenshine had experienced his own successful career in the restaurant business and he had always been an important influence on his son.
"There weren't many Wingstops around southern California at the time," recalls Sonenshine, "but my dad saw the potential of the brand and how getting in at the beginning could be a great move." At the time Sonenshine was slogging it out as a litigator and transactional attorney with a major law firm in Orange County - and he was unhappy. "I didn't like working for someone else," he says. "And I didn't like not having any control over my schedule."
So he heeded his dad's advice and although he didn't know much about franchising or restaurants, he had heard that a couple of Wingstops in California were doing good numbers and that the franchisor was looking for franchisees...

Feature Story:

A Good Feeling: William Bruce Is Pickin' Up Good Vibrations...and His Community »

By Kerry Pipes

When we first got to know William Bruce late last year (MUF 2012, 4th Quarter issue) it was clearly apparent that he values people. The COO of American Fork, Utah-based Abundant Brands values his family, customers, his employees, and those in need in his community. His dedication to these important groups of people is one of the reasons he was selected as Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Noble Cause MVP Award winner for 2013.
Bruce remains dedicated to his company and the empire of more than 250 Subways and 16 Costa Vida Mexican Restaurants...and The Rescue Missions of Salt Lake City. Together they distribute the excess rice, beans, pork, tortillas, and other food flavors into a seven-layer burrito dish. These days, the regular delivery of 400 meals is known on the streets as "Costa Vida Thursday," says Bruce...

Feature Story:

Young Gun: 25-year-old Opens 10 Red Mango's In Under Three Years »

By Debbie Selinsky

It only took Samantha Goldsmith less than three years to open 10 Red Mango locations on her native Long Island. That makes her the system's youngest franchisee, largest multi-unit owner, and Long Island the single largest market for the brand. That's quite an accomplishment, even for a veteran franchisee. But Goldsmith is just 25 and has been in the business for only three years.
Her list of accomplishments, punched up by multiple Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare accounts, is the reason Goldsmith is something of a rock star at her store grand openings and the recipient of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's 2103 MVP Influencer Award. "It's great when young people come to the manager and ask if I'm there because they want to talk to me about being successful in business," she says...

Feature Story:

Youth Movement »

By Debbie Selinsky

Red Mango's youngest (and largest) franchisee is a brand ambassador

In less than three years' time, franchisee Samantha Goldsmith opened a whopping 10 Red Mango locations on her native Long Island.
That's quite an accomplishment, even for a veteran franchisee, but Goldsmith is a bit of a prodigy since the 25-year-old woman has only been in the business for three years. She is currently the healthy yogurt system's youngest franchisee and largest multi-unit owner, and has made Long Island the single largest market for the brand.
That list of accomplishments, punched up by multiple Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare accounts, is the reason why Goldsmith is something of a rock star at her store grand openings and the recipient of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Influencer Award...

Feature Story:

Ideas And Innovation: Joe Hertzman Has Both At His Three Brands »

By Debbie Selinsky

As the father of four attending sporting events with his children, Joe Hertzman noticed that when they ordered ice cream they always requested waffle cones. So when Rally's decided to add new Cold Creations items to the brand's menu, Hertzman had a suggestion.
"I said, 'Look guys, why don't we put the ice cream in waffle cones and we can get another buck on the transaction and make another 80 to 85 cents?'" he recalls. "Around the office, we jokingly call it the JoeCone.'"
That kind of innovation over the years is what earned Hertzman the Franchisee of the Year Award from Rally's/Checkers and the 2013 Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine Innovation Award.
"Rally's has great brand relevance, and we truly appreciate their leadership...

Feature Story:

Follow The Leader: Spencer Smith On His Simple But Powerful Strategy For Success »

By Debbie Selinsky

Sometimes leaders gain followers by being flashy and charismatic.
And sometimes role models are people like Spencer Smith, the soft-spoken Colorado multi-unit, multi-brand franchisee who has earned his success by "following the program" and the Golden Rule.
The winner of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine's Role Model MVP Award describes "following the program" - also known as Franchising 101 - as a "simple but powerful" concept. "Years ago, I read an article about franchising and some of the mistakes people make," says Smith, who opened 39 Aaron's stores in eight years and nine months and also owns two Big O Tires.
"I gleaned from that article, that when you buy into a franchise, you're buying into doing business that particular way...

Feature Story:

A Healthy Business: Multi-Unit, Multi-Concept Franchisee Expands With BrightStar Care »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

As the demand for quality in-home care grows so too does the number of business opportunities within the field of health and advocacy. It didn't take multi-unit, multi-concept franchisee Mark Mooney long to recognize this line of business as viable and lucrative. So he jumped on the chance to acquire several existing BrightStar Care franchise locations.
Mooney was seeking to capitalize on his business experience in the areas of wellness, advocacy, and education, and his strong desire to help others. So it made sense for he and his son Michael to expand their portfolio to include BrightStar Care, a home care franchise that provides both medical and non-medical care to private clients in their homes. The father and son team acquired a total of four territories and now operate locations in West Seminole, Orange, East Volusia, and Lake County, Florida...

Feature Story:

Going Big: One Time Ski Coach Races To Top-Earning Status In Franchising »

By Debbie Selinsky

Jim Fitlow is a lifelong skier and as he loves to say, “Turning is highly overrated.”
Now the former ski racing coach and his partner Mike Allen are applying that same “go big or go home” philosophy as multi-brand, multi-unit franchisees for Re-Bath, Floor Coverings International, and HomeStory Doors & More, all in Utah and Colorado.
Fitlow, born in Florida, was raised in Michigan where the ski bug bit him at a young age. He met Allen later, in college at Montana State University. When Fitlow got out of ski race coaching—“I enjoyed it and had some success with that for a few years,” he says—he began to look around for something that would keep him in Salt Lake City.
Fitlow and Allen knew a local Re-Bath franchisee, a retired plumber they’d swapped jobs with on occasion...

Feature Story:

Tri-effective: Joe Hertzman Wins With Three Brands Over Three Decades »

By Debbie Selinsky

Joe Hertzman is always thinking.
When the Louisville, Kentucky, father of four attended sporting events with his kids, he noticed that they always requested waffle cones when they ordered ice cream. So when Rally's decided to add new Cold Creations items to the brand's menu, Hertzman had a suggestion.
"I said, 'Look guys, why don't we put the ice cream in waffle cones and we can get another buck on the transaction and make another 80 to 85 cents?'" he recalls. "Around the office, we jokingly call it the 'JoeCone.'"
That kind of innovation over the years is what has earned Hertzman the Franchisee of the Year Award from Rally's/Checkers and this year's Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine Innovation Award.
"Rally's has great brand relevance, and we truly appreciate their leadership...



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