January 04, 2013 // Franchising.com // Jacksonville – Small business owners in Jacksonville may not realize it yet, but they are now part of an incubator market for an entirely new concept in franchising. Eastbourne Brands is the brainchild of franchise veteran Tra Williams, who has big hopes for the growth of local small business and his very own Florida-based multi-brand conglomerate. With a solid team of experienced Franchise Executives at his back, Williams plans to use the Jacksonville market as a launching pad for a number of unique business concepts.
“There are so many incredible small businesses peppered throughout north Florida,” explains Williams. “Their owners have found success on a local level, but very often they aren’t sure how to take their business to the next level. We can help them do that through franchising. Jacksonville is the perfect community to support new growth as we fine tune the concepts taken under the Eastbourne Brands umbrella. Once there is a solid foundation and we have proven success within the Jacksonville market, we will expand those concepts through franchising in cities across America. In doing so, we hope to usher in a new era in franchising.”
With extensive resumes that boast such well-known franchises as Shane’s Rib Shack®, Moe’s Southwest Grill®, Chick-fil-A®, Zaxbys® and Planet Smoothie®, Williams and his team of Certified Franchise Executives know a thing or two about what it takes to build a successful franchise. A celebrated rising star in the franchise industry, Williams was awarded the inaugural Gray Plant Mooty Scholarship for Franchise Executives. He has been featured and published in a variety of franchise and small business publications, as well. Williams also understands entrepreneurial spirit on a very personal level. He got his first taste of founding and fostering a business’ success with his own original restaurant and franchise concept, Loozie Anna’s New Orleans Blues Bar & Grill. With the recent launch of Eastbourne Brands, he hopes to give other would-be entrepreneurs a slice of the “American Dream.”
“Given the uncertainty of the job market, interest in the franchise community has grown by leaps and bounds,” explains Williams. “Jacksonville is home to some iconic franchises already, including Woody’s Bar-B-Q®, Larry’s Giant Subs®, and Firehouse Subs®. However, the city is woefully underrepresented in an industry that employs 8 million people – that’s over 14% of the country’s private sector jobs. Jacksonville is the nation’s 11th most populous city, but only ranks 134th* at creating jobs and sustaining economic growth. We see that as an enormous opportunity. As we help local businesses expand, hundreds – if not thousands – of jobs will be created. Eastbourne Brands itself will employ six to 12 full-time employees within the next 12 months.”
While Atlanta, Denver, Dallas and DC are all hotbeds of franchise activity, Jacksonville’s vibrant self-employed community could prove a wise selection for Eastbourne’s home base. The Community Redevelopment Act (CRA) loan originations in Jacksonville under $1 million increased 28 percent from 2010 to 2011**, signaling a return of confidence by local entrepreneurs who finally have access to capital that was previously unavailable due to the recession.
Williams insists that – although there may be other companies that do what Eastbourne Brands does – no one does it quite the same way. While most traditional franchise models incorporate multiple revenue streams built into the franchisee’s cost structure, Eastbourne plans to defy tradition by declaring that the fastest growth occurs when franchisees aren’t burdened with pass-through costs and rebates to the franchisor. Williams and his co-founders all believe the increase in company valuation that comes with a larger, more profitable system vastly exceeds meager add-on revenues that could ultimately limit growth.
“Eastbourne exists for one reason and one reason only,” Williams states, “to help local entrepreneurs grow their businesses. This country was built by entrepreneurs, and we believe that nurturing their success is the only way to return this country to its former economic glory.”
By providing a combination of turnkey solutions, ongoing developmental and operational support, and access to a large pool of resources to entrepreneurs who want to franchise their business, Eastbourne Brands will prove a valuable resource in Jacksonville and throughout the First Coast region. Small business owners who wish to learn more about how Eastbourne Brands can grow their business are encouraged to visit www.eastbournebrands.com. To begin a discussion involving possible expansion through franchising, First Coast business owners can reach an Eastbourne Brands Representative at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* A 2004 study by the International Franchise Association stated that franchising is responsible for 760,000 businesses, 18 million jobs, 14% of the private sector employment, and over $500 billion in payroll, and http://bestcities.milkeninstitute.org ranks JAX 134th in creating and sustaining jobs.
** Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) Reports - Findings from Analysis of Nationwide Summary Statistics for 2011 Community Reinvestment Act Data Fact Sheet (August 2012). http://www.ffiec.gov/hmcrpr/cra_fs12.htm