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					                               F W     F O C U S           F R A N C H I S E          E V E N T S




International Franchise Expo a
Launching Pad for Sector Growth
Popular trade show is the place to meet new prospects, launch new concepts.

By Joel Goldstein




I    n the world of trade shows, the International
     Franchise Expo has created a 15-year legacy for
     helping franchisors grow their networks across the
nation and around the globe. In June, that legacy will
continue as more than 15,000 visitors from 85 countries
                                                           Zarbarpur said people in the area have questioned
                                                           when it would begin franchising.
                                                              “Our big goal at the show is just to get the word
                                                           out,” he said. “A lot of people have been speculating
                                                           that we were going to franchise, and this is to let
are expected to fill the Washington, D.C. Convention       everyone know that now we are.”
Center in search of the perfect franchise opportunity to      Nature Stone Floors will be another newcomer to
fit their business and personal needs.                     the exhibit area. Franchising since June, the company,
    As a participant in the U.S. Department of             based in Bedford, Ohio, already has five franchisees
Commerce’s International Buyer Program the Expo has        and is looking at the show as way to grow even
consistently attracted foreign buyers, investors and       further. The business, which offers a stone and epoxy
distributors from around the world ready to do             flooring that goes on top of concrete surfaces to
business. In return, exhibitors large and small have       improve aesthetics, add stability and cover concrete
made it a mission to use the show as a launching pad       cracks, averages more than 3,000 jobs a year at its
for franchise development on an annual basis.              corporate stores. According to Jim Teresi, director of
                                                           operations for Nature Stone Floors, the concept is ripe
                 “There’s only so much information         to franchise and the Expo is the place to make those
                                                           connections.
                         I can get over the phone.”           Nature Stone Floors has enjoyed success in Ohio,
                                                           where harsh winters can damage concrete floors,
                                                           Teresi said. The company is targeting prospects in
   “It’s the one show every summer that brings             similar climates in the eastern United States at the Expo
together some of the world’s most recognized               for early development and he looks forward to making
franchisors, the hottest newcomers, and the domestic       face-to-face contacts.
and foreign investors looking to be part of those             “There’s only so much
systems in their collective quest for business success,”   information I can get
said Richard Macaluso of MFV Expositions, producer of      over the phone,” Teresi
the show.                                                  said. “One on one is a
                                                           whole other story. That’s
Big Beginnings                                             definitely going to be a
Given that kind of reputation, Ali Zarbarpur can’t wait    plus at the show.”
to be there. As director of franchising for Fashion
Time, a watch and clock retailer with 24 corporate         Universal Appeal
locations throughout the Virginia and D.C. metro area,     For Michelle Violetto of
Zarbarpur’s company will use the Expo to debut its         Little Scoops Franchise
franchise program.                                         Corp. in Blauvelt, N.Y.,
   “One of the key reasons for exhibiting at Expo is the   the regional opportuni-
location,” said Zarbarpur, who visited the show last       ties for franchise
year. “The show is right in the heart of our own           development close to
locations. What better way to have a franchisee            home are obvious. But
prospect come out to the event, qualify him, take him      she said her company’s
to visit our area locations and make the right connec-     appearance at the IFE
tions to grow?”                                            also is about the
   Because Fashion Time has been around since 1992,        (Continued on page 84)

                                                                                               FEBRUARY 2006 FRANCHISING WORLD   83
(Continued from page 83)                    “Little Scoops is always looking to grow.            when Young Rembrandts was ready to
universal appeal of her franchise concept   And luckily both ice cream and parties               explore international expansion. But
and connecting with a diverse crowd.        are concepts understood and celebrated               while the company is focused on growth
   “The International Franchise Expo is     around the world. First we’ll conquer                in the United States among the Mid-
not only a great forum to learn more        the U.S., and then we’ll see.”                       Atlantic States, she doesn’t rule out any
about the business of franchising, it’s a                                                        possibilities.
wonderful place to network with other       Open Minds and Open Doors                               “We’re very interested in our horizons
vendors and attract serious potential       Whether the intention is to grow across              with international exposure,” Swanson
franchisees from around the world,”         the United States or across the ocean, the           said. “We think art is universal and our
Violetto said.                              Expo has historically become a place to              concept is universal, so we would be
   Specializing in hosting children’s       expand one’s perspective. By attracting              open to anyone who might be open to
parties in an old-fashioned ice cream       strong domestic candidates, as well as               Young Rembrandts.”
parlor setting, Little Scoops translates    international delegations, exhibiting                   Having been in business for 17 years,
well across cultural and demographic        franchisors meet qualified prospects who             Young Rembrandts began franchising in
boundaries, according to Violetta. And      can often lead to discussions about new              2001 with a proven business model,
that makes the show’s international         markets. The key is being open to the                Swanson said. Now the company is
scope attractive.                           opportunities that present themselves.               focused on growth, using the Expo as a
                                                “ We h a v e 5 6 u n i t s , ” s a i d K i m     vehicle to market it.
          The key is being open to the      Swanson, director of franchise opera-                   For others looking to capitalize on the
                                            tions for Young Rembrandts, a children’s             Expo to heighten their marketing and
            opportunities that present      art enrichment program based in Elgin,
                                            Ill. “And we would like to average 20 to
                                                                                                 franchise development success this year,
                                                                                                 immediate action is suggested since
                          themselves.       25     franchisees         every
                                            Internationally, we’re pretty wide open
                                                                                      y e a r.   space is limited.
                                                                                                    For more information or to register for
                                            to whatever would come our way.”                     the 2006 International Franchise Expo,
                                                That’s one reason Swanson has an                 visit Franchise.org. I
   “It allows us to step back from our      open mind about Expo and the interna-
day-to-day operation and look more          tional potential that will be present.               Joel Goldstein is the director of marketing
globally at how we do business and with     Admittedly, she said she expected to                 for MFV Expositions. He can be reached
whom,” Violetto said about the show.        focus on English-speaking countries                  at jgoldstein@mfvexpo.com.




84   FRANCHISING WORLD FEBRUARY 2006

				
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