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Success Stories

Feature Story:

Brand Smitten: Dedicated Homemaker Becomes Dominator Franchisee »

By Debbie Selinsky

At the age of 39, Becky Finger, a full-time homemaker and mother of three from Cincinnati, went with a friend to visit a Once Upon A Child store in Columbus, a couple of hours away. She had seen franchise founder Lynn Blum on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine in 1992 and thought her concept was brilliant.
"Lynn has such a passion for resale and for recycling, which you didn't hear as much about 25 years ago," says Finger, now 64 and the owner of nine Once Upon A Child and seven Plato's Closet stores. "Recycling clothes is what she was doing, and that was an added bonus to me."
Finger, who had never run a business, was smitten as soon as she visited the Columbus store. "I liked it because it was clean, organized, and bright. It smelled fresh, everything was gently used, there was a great variety of brands, and it was a family operation, which appealed to me," she says...

Feature Story:

Jon-Anthony Lui Making A Difference In Lives »

By Debbie Selinsky

Jon-Anthony Lui came from an entrepreneurial family. His father had been a successful businessman and the younger Lui was destined to follow in his footsteps. He found his niche - and his passion - when he began working for Tutor Doctor, the brand that offers one-on-one tutoring to children in the home.
"Making a difference with young ones has always been a passion of mine. We all remember who made an impact on our lives at some point--a teacher, friend, relative, or mentor--and I liked the idea of capturing that magic and releasing it upon the masses in an organized, structured way. That's a beautiful thing," says Lui, who owns 10 Tutor Doctors, whose 350 tutors serve 850 families in 10 territories in Greater Toronto.
Lui, whose parents died when he was 21, opened his first franchise territory, Tutor Doctor Vaughan, in 2009...

Feature Story:

Up From Poverty »

By Debbie Selinsky

Eric Holm wants to eliminate hunger in the U.S.
Eric Holm may own 31 successful Golden Corral restaurants in Florida and Georgia and run a $150 million business, but his thoughts never stray far from the poverty in which he grew up. That's why he's been found every Thanksgiving for the past 22 years, alongside 1,200 volunteers, serving up to 25,000 free meals at the local Salvation Army.
He also is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, serving as chairman of the Finance and Development Committee and aiming this year--the Salvation Army's 150th anniversary year--to start raising the $220 million needed to do what he calls "changing the dynamics of intergenerational poverty."
Holm, who has been Franchisee of the Year for Golden Corral many times, well remembers when the Salvation Army fed his family on Thanksgiving and Christmas when he was growing up, and he continues to pay that kindness forward...

Feature Story:

Guillermo Perales Named 2015 Entrepreneur Of The Year »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Guillermo Perales is no stranger to franchising or winning awards. The eighth largest franchisee, and largest Hispanic franchisee, in the country has been recognized no less than four times by Latino Leaders Magazine's annual "101 List," which identifies the most influential Latinos in the U.S. He's received the Entrepreneur of the Year from Asociacion de Empresarios Mexicanos, and earned numerous other awards and accolades over the past two decades. Now he can add the IFA's 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year award to his list.
Perales, president and CEO of Sun Holdings, Inc., is a multi-unit franchisee who operates 280 Burger King Restaurants, 100 Popeye's, 68 Arby's restaurants, 36 Cici's Pizza, 24 Golden Corral restaurants, 15 Krispy Kreme, 89 T-Mobile locations, as well 10 restaurants in various airports, employing thousands and routinely giving back to his community...

Feature Story:

Bright Light: People Love Doing Business With Their Friends »

By Debbie Selinsky

On May 20, 2013, when strong tornadoes tore through Moore, Okla., Brandon Boozer and his family were lucky. Their home wasn't damaged, though some of their closest neighbors lost everything.
Boozer, owner of six Batteries Plus Bulbs in the Oklahoma City area, kicked into high gear, driving truckloads of batteries and flashlights to people searching the ruins of their homes or who had lost power. His church, First Baptist Church of Moore, became headquarters for survivors to pick up water, fruit, clothing, and other necessities.
"While we were trying to figure things out at church, corporate and I discussed what was happening and they sent down a half truckload of work supplies, batteries, flashlights, and even kid flashlights," he says...

Feature Story:

Golden Corral Zee To Serve 20,000 Meals Thanksgiving Day »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Eric Holm knows what it's like to get a Thanksgiving meal from the Salvation Army. He recalls the experience while growing up in a single-parent family and working to help support his mother as a busboy in a restaurant where she was a waitress. Now a successful multi-unit franchise operator with 32 Golden Corrals, Holm serves free meals to others on Thanksgiving Day. He's done it for 23 consecutive years as part of the annual "Helpings from the Heart" program. The event is expected to serve more than 20,000 meals to deserving residents in Central Florida on Thanksgiving Day.
"Golden Corral takes great pride in feeding the community every day of the year in its restaurants, and we see Thanksgiving as a way of helping Central Florida by providing for those in need," says Holm...

Feature Story:

A Dominating Presence »

By Kerry Pipes


These franchisees "own" their markets

Some people are born with a deep desire to win. They are passionate, determined, aggressive, and persistent. We've come to label these multi-unit franchisees "Dominators." Some have many locations concentrated in one area, while others have units--and brands--spread across many states.
We interviewed six such Dominators to learn what drives them, what motivates them, and what satisfies them. Each has traced a different path to success, but all are characterized by dedication, hard work, and a never-say-die attitude, no matter what challenges come their way--and each story ends at the same place: success.
This year we introduce four new Dominators and have reconnected with two from previous issues...

Feature Story:

American Dreamer: Aslam Khan Wants To Reach $1 Billion By 2020 »

By Debbie Selinsky

When Aslam Khan was a youngster growing up in a poor mountain village in Pakistan, his world didn't include knowledge of luxury cars, homes, designer apparel, or the other trappings of money. His dreams at that point were a bit nebulous, but the bright, outgoing Khan knew there was something better in store for him and he began to educate himself and prepare to find it.
Khan immigrated to the United States in 1987 with $20 in his pocket and started as a dishwasher earning $3 an hour in a California Church's Chicken before working his way up through the business. By 1999, he'd bought 97 Church's restaurants and become CEO of his own company, Falcon Holdings. Today he is the largest franchisee in the Church's system and also operates franchises for Long John Silver's, A&W, Hardee's, and Piccadilly Cafeteria--300 in all...

Feature Story:

Bay Area Franchisee Takes On 16 Jamba Juice Units »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

A new 16-store refranchising deal in the Bay Area is nearing completion. Jamba Juice franchisee Dwayne Redmond, who operates Valley Juice, LLC, will take over locations in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and other key Bay Area markets.
"We are very excited to join the Jamba team with this acquisition of 16 new stores," said Dwayne Redmond, president of Valley Juice, LLC. "We look forward to long-term success with this fantastic brand."
The freshly-squeezed juice brand is nearing completion of its current refranchising efforts with 90 percent of stores now franchise owned and operated.
Jamba announced the refranchising initiative at the end of 2014, with a stated goal of refranchising "up to 114" stores during 2015. The company has significantly exceeded its initial goal as the new deal will bring the total stores refranchised in 2015 to 179, with plans to close an additional deal before by the end of the year...

Feature Story:

Savvy Franchisees Know That A Strong, Healthy Culture Pays Dividends »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Rick Nussle had spent more than three decades in the commercial printing business and was looking for a change. Then he started handling the printing for SafeWay Driving.
He got to know Brad Coleman, a former NASCAR driver who, along with a group of former SafeWay students, bought the brand from the founders four years ago.
Nussle had been thinking about franchising, and Safeway offered him the chance to "do some good for the kids and make some money too," he says. Having done the brand's printing for the better part of two years, he'd performed an informal due diligence. And as soon as franchises were available, Nussle bought up all seven school zones (territories) in Katy, Texas.
His attitude? "Let's go do this thing, I believe in it so much," he says...

Feature Story:

Right Time, Right Place: William Bruce Does Well By Doing Good »

By Kerry Pipes

You can say this about William Bruce: he's not afraid of change or embracing new challenges. He's proven both since we profiled him in 2012 and named him our MVP Noble Cause Award winner in 2013.
In early 2014, he left Abundant Brands, where he had spent a half-dozen years, and as COO was overseeing more than 250 Subway locations and more than a dozen Costa Vida Mexican Grill restaurants, as well as three other brands.
"I felt like rather than just maintaining what the company had, that I'd like to really get back to a more active building and developing approach," he says. That's when serendipity struck. His name had been floated to some executives with a Dallas-based commercial real estate company, Encore Enterprises. The $2 billion company had a restaurant arm, Encore Restaurants, and approached Bruce about doing some consulting for them...

Feature Story:

Driving Ambition: 38-Year-Old Operates 125 Popeyes In 4 States »

By Debbie Selinsky

Amin Dhanani didn't have to look far for a business role model: his father came from Pakistan 37 years ago with 11 children and $50 in his pocket. Although his father didn't speak English, he became a successful entrepreneur with convenience stores and gas stations. His work ethic still wows his children.
Apparently, the apple didn't fall far from the tree: Dhanani, just 38, recently was named Franchisee of the Year by Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. He was also recognized with the Mega-Growth Leadership MVP award for expanding his Popeyes franchise to 125 restaurants (40 of them new builds) in just 5 years.
"I think this kind of drive and ambition is part of our family's way of doing business," says the owner and president of Sugar Land, Tex...

Feature Story:

Mom Makes It Big In Clothing Resale Franchises »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Becky Finger was nearing 40 and busy raising three kids when she and a friend first visited a Once Upon A Time franchise location in Columbus, Ohio, two hours away from her home in Cincinnati. She had seen franchise founder Lynn Blum on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine in 1992 and thought her concept was brilliant.
"Lynn has such a passion for resale and for recycling, which you didn't hear as much about 25 years ago," says Finger, now 64 and the owner of nine Once Upon A Child and seven Plato's Closet stores. "Recycling clothes is what she was doing, and that was an added bonus to me."
Finger, who had never run a business, was smitten as soon as she visited the Columbus store. "I liked it because it was clean, organized, and bright...

Feature Story:

50 By 50: Welcome To Growth! »

By Helen Bond

The way Steven Taylor and Chris Smith see it, operating multiple brands just makes their business better.
"I got tired of hearing for so long, 'This is how every franchise does it'; or 'This is how it has always been done,'" says Taylor, a franchisee of Moe's Southwest Grill and Smashburger. "I was excited about branching out and diversifying to another concept and learning how they do it--and try to do it better. We have done that and have been able to cherry-pick the best of each brand and incorporate that into our own company."
At 40, Taylor and his partner Smith, 42, are gearing up for growth. The duo, who have three Smashburger locations and 14 Moe's in North and South Carolina, aim to operate 50 restaurants or post $50 million in sales by age 50...

Feature Story:

Jann Birt Is Jackson Hewitt Franchisee Of The Year »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Jann Birt has worked hard to make her Jackson Hewitt franchise locations successful and she was rewarded for her effort at the brand's recent convention. She was recognized as Franchisee of the Year.
Birt, who owns JTB Tax Pros, Inc. and operates nine Jackson Hewitt locations in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, was commended for delivering on the brand promise of 'Working Hard for the Hardest Working.' The numbers speak for themselves. She achieved preparer satisfaction scores more than 90 percent, value scores of 86 percent, and new customer growth of 14 percent, topping many 2015 brand goals.
"My goal was to execute the national brand promotion, and to focus my staff on delivering excellent customer service. I'm thrilled to share this recognition with my tax pros and managers," said Birt...

Feature Story:

David Barr Elected Secretary Of IFA »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

David Barr, chairman of PMTD Restaurants and its affiliates, a multi-unit franchise business operating 23 KFC and Taco Bell restaurants, has been elected secretary of the International Franchise Association.
"I am honored to have been elected secretary of the IFA, and look forward to working with the IFA leadership team and its members, both franchisors and franchisees, to ensure that franchising remains as a robust business model that creates opportunities for entrepreneurs, small business owners and employees," said Barr.
Barr was elected to his IFA leadership position by the IFA board of directors, along with the full slate of 2016 officers, including: Aziz Hashim, a multi-unit, multi-brand franchisee and president & CEO of National Restaurant Development, who will serve as IFA chairman; Shelly Sun, CEO & co-founder of BrightStar Care, who becomes vice chair; and Liam Brown, president of North America Select & Extended Stay Lodging & Owner Franchise Services at Marriott International, will become IFA treasurer...

Feature Story:

Winning Couple: Restaurant Work Just Gets In Your Blood »

By Debbie Selinsky

After working her way through college waiting tables, Tracy Balen told her mother at her graduation from Ohio State University, "I'll never work in another restaurant!"
Sometimes it's nice to be wrong. Balen and her husband, Alan, were named the 2015 winners of the MVP Award for Multi-Brand Leadership. The couple, who live in Michigan with their three sons, own 16 Checkers/Rally's in Michigan and Florida and four Qdobas in Montana and rack up revenues in the millions--all restaurants.
"Restaurant work just gets in your blood," says Alan, a former defensive lineman on the Ohio State Buckeyes football team under famed Coach Woody Hayes. While still in college, he hired Tracy and her friends to work in his campus bar. Today he enjoys retelling the story of how he and his young wife sold their house to help buy their first Checkers/Rally's 24 years ago...

Feature Story:

Ted Kergan Receives Sonic's Most Prestigious Award »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Lafayette, Louisiana-based Sonic operator Ted Kergan is the winner of the brand's annual Troy Smith Hall of Fame Award for 2015. He was recognized at Sonic's recent convention in Kansas City, Missouri. The award is given to a franchisee who has worked with Sonic for a noteworthy duration and has made a significant contribution in terms of leadership, growth, positive influence, and brand image.
"To be recognized for this prestigious award is very humbling and emotional for me because I am now placed in the same category with fellow franchisees who have taught me a lot about the business," said Ted Kergan, chief executive officer of Kergan Brothers, Inc. "Troy Smith was among my Sonic mentors and I am delighted to receive the award named for a man I both respected and admired...

Feature Story:

Multi-Brand Operator Expanding Dickey's In Pacific Northwest »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Mark Engberson has partnered with Palouse Restaurant Group to open five new Dickey's Barbecue stores throughout eastern Washington in the Spokane region. Together the group owns a variety of fast casual and QSR concepts including Carl's Jr., Subway, Wingstop, and others. With over 80 years of combined experience in franchise foodservice, they have the skill and expertise backed by a national brand to deliver Dickey's barbecue to their customers.
"We were ready to diversify our portfolio and after speaking to other Dickey's operators, we knew it was the right choice," says Engberson. "With hard work, delicious, quality food and community spirit, we plan to earn our guest's loyalty and we look forward to bringing Texas barbecue with a side of southern hospitality to our community...

Feature Story:

Life In The Fast (Casual) Lane »

By Helen Bond


At 30, steering the family business to the next level

Harsh Ghai's northern California-based multi-brand business may be rooted in food and family, but aggressive growth and smart development are the cornerstones of the company's success. Ghai is spearheading the entry of Ghai Management Services, operators of 64 Burger King and Taco Bell restaurants in 4 states, into the fast casual lane. The family-owned company recently opened its first Corner Bakery Cafe in Sacramento as part of an 8-store agreement.
When it comes to the food industry, fast casual is the future, says Ghai, who runs the business with his father Sunny Ghai, who founded the company. "It is the middle ground," he says. "There are amazing brands out there...


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Multi-Brand 50    

Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine

Issue II, 2016

Multi-Unit Buyers Guide    

2015 Multi-Unit Buyers Guide

Special Edition

Top Opportunities »

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