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Romancing The Home

45 home improvement opportunities.

It's a love affair that hasn't made the tabloid headlines, but homeowners worldwide are lavishing attention on their homes. To keep up with the home improvement explosion, some of the hottest franchises on the block are the ones helping consumers give their homes a '90s makeover.

Home. There's no place like it--it's perhaps the one place where America isn't resistant to change. In fact, U.S. homeowners are making renovations to the tune of more than $140 billion annually, according to trade newspaper National Home Center News. "The economy is strong and consumer confidence is high," says editor Don Longo, who attributes a large part of the renovation boom to a healthy real estate market. "[Once people] purchase a home, they generally spend a lot [of money] improving it."

Whether it's the thrill of a new kitchen or hardwood floors, an updated look for their home's exterior, or the need to divide, combine or organize space, homeowners are calling on the ever-expanding home improvement franchise industry for the projects they can't do or don't have time to do themselves.

And where has all the hubbub come from? Has the cocooning of the '80s evolved into '90s simplicity, with its emphasis on hearth and home? Certainly, the industry's revenues are getting a boost from the millions of Americans who now call home their workplace. It's probably safe to say there's no single origin of the home improvement trend. As the debate--and the flurry of remodeling and repairs--continues, here's our listing of 45 home improvement opportunities.

Key to Listing: FR: Franchise D: Dealership/Distributorship L: Licensing Opportunity

A WORLD OF DECORATING (FR)
11062 S. Military Tr., #431
Boynton Beach, FL 33436; (561)736-7960
Home-decorating service
Yr. Began: '93, Yr. Fran.: '93; No. Units: 1
Total Investment: $10K

ALL-AMERICAN MINI-BLIND SALES (D)
23052 Alicia Pkwy., #H202
Mission Viejo, CA 92692; (714)459-8931
Mobile mini-blind/drapery/shutter sales
Yr. Began: '86, Yr. Opp.: '95; No. Units: 120
Total Investment: $1.99K

ARCHADECK (FR)
2112 W. Laburnum Ave., #100
Richmond, VA 23727; (800)789-3325
Wooden decks/screened porches/gazebos
Yr. Began: '80, Yr. Fran.: '84; No. Units: 67
Total Investment: $27K-83.8K

AWC COMM'L. WINDOW COVERINGS (FR)
825 W. Williamson Wy.
Fullerton, CA 92632; (800)252-2280
Commercial window coverings sales/cleaning
Yr. Began: '63, Yr. Fran.: '92; No. Units: 10
Total Investment: $122.52K-217.3K

BATHCREST INC. (FR)
2425 S. Progress Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84119; (800)826--6790
Porcelain resurfacing services
Yr. Began: '79, Yr. Fran.: '85; No. Units: 152
Total Investment: $25K-33.5K

BATH FITTER (FR)
27 Berard Dr., #2701
So. Burlington, VT 05403; (800)892-2847
Acrylic tub liners/bath & shower walls
Yr. Began: '84, Yr. Fran.: '92; No. Units: 60
Total Investment: $26.5K-48.9K

BUDGET BLINDS INC. (FR)
1570 Corporate Dr., #B
Costa Mesa, CA 92626; (800)420-5374
Window coverings
Yr. Began: '92, Yr. Fran.: '94; No. Units: 138
Total Investment: $39.9K-64.9K

CABINET DOCTOR REFACING SYSTEMS (D)
85 County Rd., #75
Mechanicville, NY 12118; (518)664-6949
Kitchen cabinet refacing system
Yr. Began: '58, Yr. Opp.: '80; No. Units: 15
Total Investment: $4.9K

CALIFORNIA CLOSET CO. INC. (FR)
1700 Montgomery St., #249
San Francisco, CA 94111; (800)241-3222
Custom closet/garage/office organiz. system
Yr. Began: '79, Yr. Fran.: '82; No. Units: 146
Total Investment: $64K-226.5K

CARPET NETWORK (FR)
109 Gaither Dr., #302
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054; (800)428-1067
Mobile floor coverings/window treatment sales
Yr. Began: '91, Yr. Fran.: '92; No. Units: 46
Total Investment: $27.8K-34.8K

CERTA PROPAINTERS LTD. (FR)
1140 Valley Forge Rd.
Valley Forge, PA 19482; (800)452-3782
Residential & commercial painting
Yr. Began: '92, Yr. Fran.: '92; No. Units: 182
Total Investment: $36K-50K

CLOSET CLASSICS (D)
3311 Windquest Dr.
Holland, MI 49424; (616)399-3311
Custom closet sales & designs
Yr. Began: '84, Yr. Opp.: '87; No. Units: 145
Total Investment: $15K

THE CLOSET FACTORY (FR)
12800 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90061; (310)516-7000
Custom-closet systems
Yr. Began: '83, Yr. Fran.: '86; No. Units: 80
Total Investment: $99.5K-196K

COLOR CROWN CORP. (L)
9401 N. 14th St.
Tampa, FL 33612; (800)282-1599
Decorative concrete coating products
Yr. Began: '72, Yr. Opp.: '93; No. Units: 500+
Total Investment: to $5.5K

DECOR & YOU INC. (D)
900 Main St. S., Bld. 2
Southbury, CT 06488; (203)264-3500
Decorating products & planning service
Yr. Began: '94, Yr. Opp.: '94; No. Units: 3
Total Investment: $1.5K-5K

DECOR-AT-YOUR-DOOR INT'L. (FR)
P.O. Box 1586
Placerville, CA 95667; (800)936-3326
Mobile window coverings/carpet sales
Yr. Began: '83, Yr. Fran.: '95; No. Units: 23
Total Investment: $10.5K

DECORATING DEN INTERIORS (FR)
7910 Woodmont Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814-3058; (800)428-1366
Full-service interior decorating services
Yr. Began: '69, Yr. Fran.: '70; No. Units: 800
Total Investment: $19.9K-30.9K

DECORATING DEN PAINTING & HOME IMPROVEMENT (FR)
7910 Woodmont Ave., #200
Bethesda, MD 20814; (301)652-6393
Painting & home improvement services
Yr. Began: '94, Yr. Fran.: '96; No. Units: 9
Total Investment: $4.35K-8.9K

DRAPERY WORKS SYSTEMS LTD. (FR)
4640 Western Ave.
Lisle, IL 60532; (800)353-7273
Mobile custom drapery/soft home accessories
Yr. Began: '78, Yr. Fran.: '93; No. Units: 5
Total Investment: $22.3K-53.65K

FOUR SEASONS SUNROOMS (FR)
5005 Veterans Memorial Hwy.
Holbrook, NY 11741; (800)521-0179
Solariums/patio sunrooms/skylights
Yr. Began: '75, Yr. Fran.: '84; No. Units: 240
Total Investment: $13.25K-82.5K

FURNITURE MEDIC (FR)
860 Ridge Lake Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38120; (800)877-9933
Furniture restoration & repair services
Yr. Began: '92, Yr. Fran.: '92; No. Units: 528
Total Investment: $19.4K-21.4K

GCO CARPET OUTLET (FR)
7061 Halcyon Summit Dr.
Montgomery, AL 36117; (800)279-8345
Retail/wholesale floor coverings
Yr. Began: '88, Yr. Fran.: '89; No. Units: 108
Total Investment: $260K

GUARDSMAN WOODPRO (FR)
4999 36th St. S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49512; (800)496-6377
Furniture repair & refinishing services
Yr. Began: 1865, Yr. Fran.: '94; No. Units: 65
Total Investment: $16K-22K+

HANDYMAN CONNECTION (FR)
227 Northland Blvd.
Cincinnati, OH 45246; (800)466-5530
Home repairs & remodeling services
Yr. Began: '90, Yr. Fran.: '91; No. Units: 61
Total Investment: $45K-95K

HOUSE DOCTORS (FR)
4010 Executive Park Dr., #100
Cincinnati, OH 45241; (800)319-3359
Handyman services/home repairs
Yr. Began: '94, Yr. Fran.: '95; No. Units: 103
Total Investment: $16K-35.65K

KITCHEN SOLVERS INC. (FR)
401 Jay St.
LaCrosse, WI 54601; (800)845-6779
Cabinet refacing & remodeling
Yr. Began: '82, Yr. Fran.: '84; No. Units: 71
Total Investment: $16.39K-21.49K

KITCHEN TUNE-UP (FR)
131 N. Roosevelt
Aberdeen, SD 57401; (800)333-6385
Cabinet/wood surface restoration
Yr. Began: '86, Yr. Fran.: '88; No. Units: 304
Total Investment: $13.29K-29.6K

LIQUID WALLPAPER (L)
1021 Watson
Topeka, KS 66604; (913)233-6711
Wall printing
Yr. Began: '93, Yr. Opp.: '93; No. Units: 25
Total Investment: $2.85K

LON WALTENBERGER-TRAINING SERVICES (D)
5410 Mt. Tahoma Dr. S.E.
Olympia, WA 98503-5173; (360)456-1949
Bathtub repair/refinishing
Yr. Began: '83, Yr. Opp.: '90; No. Units: 36
Total Investment: $1.5K-2.5K

MARBLELIFE (FR)
805 W. North Carrier Pkwy., #220
Grand Prairie, TX 75050; (800)627-4569
Marble/stone restoration & preservation services/products
Yr. Began: '89, Yr. Fran.: '89; No. Units: 39
Total Investment: $72K-94K

MARBLE RENEWAL (FR)
6805 W. 12th St.
Little Rock, AR 72204; (501)663-2080
Marble & hardwood restoration
Yr. Began: '88, Yr. Fran.: '89; No. Units: 30
Total Investment: $35K-150K

MINUTEMAN FURNITURE RESTORATION (L)
115 N. Monroe St., #10
Waterloo, WI 53594; (800)733-1776
Furniture restoration
Yr. Began: '75, Yr. Opp.: '75; No. Units: 2,000
Total Investment: $1K-20K

MIRACLE METHOD BATHROOM RESTORATION (FR)
19402 Rim of the World
Monument, CO 80132; (800)444-8827
Bathtub, sink & tile repair/refinishing
Yr. Began: '77, Yr. Fran.: '80; No. Units: 95
Total Investment: $29.5K-49.5K

OLDE WORLD ENTERPRISES INC. (D)
P.O. Box 3603
Port Charlotte, FL 33949; (941)766-9283
Custom floor tiles
Yr. Began: '92, Yr. Opp.: '95; No. Units: 17
Total Investment: $9K-80K

PERFORMAHOME (D)
317 Hwy. 620 S., 2nd Fl.
Austin, TX 78734; (800)944-6873
Home automation system
Yr. Began: '87, Yr. Opp.: '91; No. Units: 1,863
Total Investment: $6.9K+

PTR TUB & TILE RESTORATION (D)
4492 Acworth Industrial Dr., #102
Acworth, GA 30101; (800)346-7882
Porcelain/tile/marble repair & restoration
Yr. Began: '73, Yr. Opp.: '73; No. Units: 75
Total Investment: $5.9K

RE-BATH CORP. (FR)
1055 S. Country Club Dr., Bldg. 2
Mesa, AZ 85210-4613; (800)426-4573
Acrylic liners for bathtubs/showers/walls
Yr. Began: '79, Yr. Fran.: '91; No. Units: 76
Total Investment: $35K-66.6K

ROLL-A-WAY INC. (FR)
10601 Oak St. N.E.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716; (888)765-5292
Rolling security & storm shutters
Yr. Began: '75, Yr. Fran.: '94; No. Units: 25
Total Investment: $29.4K-77K

SPR COUNTERTOP & TUB REPAIR (D)
4492 Acworth Industrial Dr., #102
Acworth, GA 30101; (800)346-7882
Counter top & tub repairs
Yr. Began: '73, Yr. Opp.: '73; No. Units: 45
Total Investment: $5.9K

STAINED GLASS OVERLAY (FR)
1827 N. Case St.
Orange, CA 92865; (800)944-4746
Patented overlay process for creating art glass
Yr. Began: '74, Yr. Fran.: '81; No. Units: 311
Total Investment: $49.25K-98.55K

SURFACE DOCTOR (FR)
6849 Fairview Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28210; (800)735-5055
Kitchen/bath surface restoration & refinishing
Yr. Began: '93, Yr. Fran.: '94; No. Units: 133
Total Investment: $19.8K-75K

SURFACE SPECIALISTS SYSTEMS INC. (FR)
5168 Country Club Dr.
High Ridge, MO 63049; (888)376-4468
Acrylic, porcelain, fiberglass & marble repair/refinishing
Yr. Began: '81, Yr. Fran.: '82; No. Units: 26
Total Investment: $14K-34.5K

UNIQUE REFINISHERS INC. (D)
5171 North Ave.
Sugar Hill, GA 30518; (770)945-0072
Bathtub/tile reglazing
Yr. Began: '62, Yr. Opp.: '77; No. Units: 350
Total Investment: $3K-4.5K

WINDOW & WALL CREATIONS (FR)
5650 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., #207
Englewood, CO 80111; (800)461-5180
Window coverings/wallpaper/decor. access.
Yr. Began: '96, Yr. Fran.: '96; No. Units: 25
Total Investment: $12.85K-15.65K

WORLDWIDE REFINISHING SYSTEMS INC. (FR)
1020 N. University Parks Dr.
Waco, TX 76707; (800)583-9099
Porcelain/fiberglass refinish./repair, whirlpools
Yr. Began: '71, Yr. Fran.: '71; No. Units: 218
Total Investment: $46.25K+

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This article was originally published in the November 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Romancing The Home.

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