Growing Strong

Field Of Dreams

There's nothing more exciting for a child than meeting his or her hero. And ever since Minneapolis-based Novus Windshield Repair Inc. decided to sponsor the Youth Baseball Clinic, that dream has become a reality for hundreds of kids nationwide.

This year, two Novus franchisees will each organize a five-hour clinic for children aged 7 to 12 in their communities. The clinics are free for the 400 to 600 children who participate each year; parents and others in attendance are asked for a $5 donation. Proceeds benefit the charity of the franchisees' choice. Last year, franchisee Michael Cass in Bloomington, Illinois, generated funds to support Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The clinics mix tips on hitting, fielding, pitching and infield/outfield play with encouragement in good citizenship, such as the importance of getting an education and staying away from drugs and alcohol. The messages hit home runs with the children, partly because they're delivered by famous former baseball players such as Paul Blair of the New York Yankees and Bert Blyleven of the California Angels.

Leo Cyr, Novus' marketing director, says that although organizing the clinics is a lot of work for the franchisees, it's well worth the effort. "If you can help the community and get a certain amount of positive press for your business, then everybody wins," Cyr says. "And if you can benefit children at the same time, you have three winning situations."

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This article was originally published in the June 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Growing Strong.

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