As savvy franchise companies continue to flourish in this challenging economy, FUSR will bring you Good News each month, highlighting brands that are adding units, increasing comp store sales, striking deals with investors, and continuing to grow despite the economy - maybe even because of it. And as the U.S. economy struggles through its "jobless recovery," growth-oriented franchisors continue to look overseas for expansion opportunities.
Fitness Together Franchise Corp. has awarded a master franchisee agreement for Brazil, its sixth country. Antonio Cassiano Ximenes, of Fortaleza, Brazil, purchased the master franchisee rights and plans to open as many as 60 Fitness Together studios in Brazil over the next 5 years. He has already sold five franchise agreements, with the first location set to open in Sao Paulo this month. Ximenes also owns the master license for Contours Express, a ladies-only fitness franchise that has awarded 94 franchise agreements and opened 66 locations over the last 5 years, to become the second largest fitness chain in Brazil. Fitness Together began franchising in 1996 and has about 400 location in the U.S., Costa Rica, Israel, Ireland, Canada, and now Brazil.
Auntie Anne's is continuing its global expansion with the addition of stores in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Bahrain operation will be managed through a sub-franchise license by Da'Rosa Food Company WLL, which expects to open at least five stores over the next five years. The first is already open. The master franchisee for Auntie Anne's in this region is Hospitality Concepts and Solutions, in Dubai. Auntie Anne's has more than 300 franchisees operating more than 1,050 locations in 21 countries.
The addition of 128 new points of service in the U.S. and Canada has given Interstate All Battery Center (IABC) a total of 329 retail locations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Canada. In November, IABC announced that 45 company-owned distributors in 23 states had became franchisees. Founded in 1952, parent company Interstate Batteries is a privately held group of corporations whose distributors service more than 200,000 dealers in the U.S., Canada, and other international locations.
Goel Management, a franchisee of 12 Baja Fresh restaurants and an operator of Verizon Wireless retail stores, has purchased the master franchise rights for Freshii for the entire Philadelphia MSA and plans to open at least 30 new Freshii locations. Matthew Corrin, CEO of Freshii, described Sumeet Goel, CEO of Goel Management, as "our target franchisee - a successful, large multi-unit franchisee of another high-volume restaurant franchise looking to expand his portfolio with a non-competing concept.… 26 years young, completely self-made, ambitious, living the American Dream and wants to build a meaningful empire for himself." The brand, which started in Toronto and is now headquartered in Chicago, has opened 16 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada and has another 100-plus in development in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Colorado, Los Angeles, and Eastern Europe.
Phoenix-based V's Barbershop has announced two new franchises opening in the first quarter, in Houston and in Bellingham, Wash. This will bring the total number of shops to 11. Founded by Jim Valenzuela 10 years ago, V's currently has seven locations in the Phoenix area and two in Southern California.
Denver is the newest location for Red Mango, which recently awarded its first franchise there as part of its plan to add more than 20 locations regionally across several franchisees over the next 3 to 5 years. Red Mango, which launched its franchise program last year, has notched about 40 franchise deals with a commitment for 209 new locations. Red Mango opened its first store in Los Angeles in July 2007 and has grown to almost 60 locations across 14 states. The company has targeted 550 U.S. locations in the next 5 years.
Corner Bakery Café announced a partnership with S&B Development Inc. to open 11 franchise-operated locations in San Diego by 2016. Steven Fricker, partner in S&B Development, has 32 years of restaurant industry experience, including time as a Panera Bread franchisee; an Outback Steakhouse senior executive and founding partner in the brand's California franchisee. He started his franchising career with Jack in the Box, where he served in senior management positions over 15 years. His partner, Bob Carson, has 35 years of shopping center development and experience on the San Diego real estate market. Established in 1991, Corner Bakery Cafe restaurants are owned and operated by CBC Restaurant Corp. with more than 115 company-owned and franchised locations around the country.
Spoon Me, a green-themed frozen yogurt brand, has expanded in Canada with a new location now open in Calgary. Several more stores are set to open in Western Canada this year. The first Spoon Me opened in October 2007, and the first franchised location opened in March 2008. Based in Salt Lake City, Spoon Me also has stores in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. For more on this brand, see www.franchise-update.com/article/836/.
South West Dallas is home to a new Camp Bow Wow. Franchisee Stacey Copeland operates the 5,700 square-foot location. Based in Boulder, Colo., Camp Bow Wow began franchising its doggy day and overnight camps in 2003 and has sold more than 200 franchises in 38 states, plus one in Canada, with more than 100 open.
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