Franchises may feel like a family business - East Valley Tribune: Business

Franchises may feel like a family business

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Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:19 pm, Sat Jul 23, 2011.

The number of franchisees opening to help safeguard their children in the future has increased in the past few years according to research done by FranNet, a franchise research and consultant company. But Ahwatukee Foothills franchisees say it was a combination of that mixed with just good business sense.

"The main reason for us is it was kind of a hedge against the mortgage market," said Rex Duffin, part owner of four Jamba Juice franchises, including ones in Gilbert, Mesa and Chandler. "Our main business is in the mortgage market. This last four or five years we've seen that come to fruition as far as the mortgage market being thrown on its heels."

Duffin said when they were searching for a franchise to open they wanted some place their kids could work as they got older, but also a place that was going to make them money.

"The idea of them sitting around and doing video games was not too attractive and not really knowing what the job market might be like for them, we decided to open up a franchise," Duffin said. "It's a double-edge sword when you have your kids work for you, but overall it has been great."

FranNet says starting a new business in today's economy is becoming akin to opening up a small family business for many parents. Several owners are opening up a franchise and relying on a branded name to give their kids a better future.

"I know several franchisees who purchased the business for their children's future financial security," Fred Bobel, area director of Liberty Tax, a retail tax preparation company, said in a written statement. "Many have experienced the recession's effect on their careers and retirement savings and they want to spare their family from the same experience."

Sunny Arora, who recently started his fifth Quiznos franchise, said he opened a franchise because the recognized brand helps keep the business afloat in a difficult economy. He's really only seen older people, headed for retirement, buying franchises as a safety net for their children.

"Recently, I sold one of my Quiznos locations to a man who was close to 60 years of age," Arora said. "He bought it because he has children and grandchildren and he wanted to work a little bit for himself and pass it on to his children so they have a living and a good life."

Rod Ticknor, owner of two Native New Yorker locations in Ahwatukee, said he decided to franchise to get out of the corporate world.

Ticknor said he traveled too much and wanted to put more time and effort into his own business. He found that Native New Yorker encourages owners to make Native their own.

"We talk about what we're doing in the local community and we do some sharing of ideas of what works in different parts of the community," Ticknor said. "We promote the fact that we're all a little bit different when it comes to decor, but with the same food."

Duffin says for his family they may not be the typical family-owned business but, because all of their kids have worked in the store as they've grown up, they feel proud to call it their own.

"We have enough stores that it might not quite be the mom and pop store you think of as a family business but we consider it a family business even though it's a national franchised brand," Duffin said. "We're absentee owners so we don't work in the stores but by going into the stores and meeting the workers and getting to know them and getting to know the customers, saying hi to them and talking to them a bit we keep it feeling small."

Scott Timmons, district manager, has been working for Jamba Juice for 13 years and recently became a part owner. He says for him it feels like a family business.

"Our franchise, Blend Serve LLC, is definitely a family business," Timmons said. "I think our family values guide our hiring and giving back to the community. Something that is not always there with corporations, but more so with family-owned businesses and franchises. Jamba may not be our original idea but I have been with them 13 years and Blend Serve has been a franchisee since '97. We have helped develop a lot of great fundraising programs that are our original ideas."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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