Dominators Rule!: These Multi-Unit Operators Get It Done
To celebrate and recognize the achievements of multi-unit and multi-brand franchisees, we again turn our annual focus to multi-unit franchisees we like to call "Dominators." They are determined to succeed and know how to get it done. They take on markets, competition, and the economy and keep on growing. They are fiercely competitive, want to be the best at what they do, and want the same for their management team and employees.
We've identified some great, savvy operators and are excited to bring their stories to you. We asked what drives them, what makes them tick, and what ticks them off. Each shares a unique tale of how they've traveled the rocky road to success, but all are united by hard work, hard knocks, and ultimate triumph.
This year's behind-the-scenes look at a group of thriving franchise owners tells us how--and why--they've made their business choices, how they've adapted to growth, and where they see themselves headed. Here's the starting lineup for this year's Dominators issue:
- Gary Grace was a big part of the first issues of this magazine 10 years ago, appearing in Issues I and II in the summer and fall of 2004, when the magazine was called Area Developer. This longtime Supercuts franchisee has opened more than 125 Supercuts salons in California, Hawaii, and New York (including six in one day). Today, at 72, he has 37 salons in Southern California. He's also been a leader for the brand's franchisees through some contentious years with the franchisor, serving as president of the brand's franchisee association and holding the franchisee seat on its corporate board. Outside the brand, he served as 2009 chair of the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference and continues as a member of its Conference Advisory Board.
- Jeff Tews and Susan Rather are a dynamic duo. The married couple, who operate five BrightStar Care franchise territories, are among the brand's first franchisees and will soon be pioneering its newest endeavor, BrightStar Senior Living. Tews left the corporate world (banking and telecom) after more than 30 years, and Rather brought her experience as a medical technologist and lab manager at the local VA hospital. They've learned how to combine their strengths and are looking for more opportunities.
- Don Smith is a classic Dominator, and an eternal optimist. We're not talking about successfully operating a dozen or so units... we're talking 197 Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations, with more on the way--20 more, to be exact. In 2012, Smith orchestrated the purchase and successful rebranding of 72 EZ Lube oil change service centers in Southern California, the largest single acquisition in quick lube history. His success is built on a culture of "doing the job right, not taking short cuts, and treating your customers like gold."
- When David Gronewoller was asked to be part of this Dominators issue, the Golden Corral franchisee expressed sincere surprise. "There are a whole lot of people more deserving of this," he said. This "employee's employer" has two decades of franchise experience and makes community involvement a cornerstone of his operation. He runs 12 Golden Corral restaurants in Florida, has racked up numerous awards, served on boards, and kept his foot firmly on the growth pedal. He'll exceed $40 million in revenue this year and serve thousands of meals to those in need.
- Alvaro Garcia already has 21 thriving Jersey Mike's Subs locations in Southern California and is in the midst of an aggressive 70-store development plan. He and his partners expect to have 25 stores open by year-end, with 10 to 15 more per year in the pipeline. Garcia, who moved to the U.S. from Nicaragua when he was a teen, also operates a construction firm actively involved in the build-outs of his restaurants. He expects 2014 annual revenue to approach $30 million.
Following the profiles, check out this year's list of MSAs with the most franchised units, as well as the dominant franchisee organizations in each region and state.
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