Dave King, president and CEO of Fort Collins, Colorado's Triple Crown Sports Inc., admits his company had selfish beginnings. From 1982 to 1987, Dave and his wife, Annette, both 42, ran a series of softball tournaments in Colorado. Working full time for an insurance company at the time, Dave had no long-term vision for the series.
But in 1987, Dave quit his job in favor of making sports a full-time business. Ten years later, the Kings decided to franchise their amateur sports marketing and production business.
Today, Triple Crown Sports has three franchisees, one each in Nevada, Utah and Colorado, and 10 company-owned units nationwide. As for filling in the 200 available units across the United States, the company is looking for entrepreneurs who have "been in the corporate environment, don't mind the chaos of large events and groups, and have no fear of long hours outdoors," says Dave.
Franchisees produce and manage weekend tournaments, camps and clinics. Most business is conducted via telephone and mail so it's easily run from home.
Franchisees can choose from girls' fast pitch, adult slow pitch, boys' baseball, inline hockey and soccer. The Kings hope to add basketball, flag football and youth tackle football next season.
Veteran franchisor spices up its menu.
Since first seeking snack stardom in 1976 with its Everything Yogurt concept, Restaurant Systems International Inc. has added a bevy of delectable offerings to tempt both hungry customers and ambitious franchisees.
Change has been key for the New York City franchise company: In 1995, the then-19-year-old Everything Yogurt Inc. altered its identity with a new name, a necessity because yogurt was no longer "everything." Greenleaf's Grille and Treat Street, two new prototypes, are umbrella concepts under which the company's other brands will fall. Greenleaf's Grille's menu offers healthy tantalizers like freshly prepared grilled sandwiches, wraps and salads. Treat Street houses Gretel's Pretzels, Bananas and Everything Yogurt Express. Through mid-1999, expect new additions to Treat Street's menu: Muffins, cookies, gourmet coffee and a private-label Treat Street ice cream are in the works.
April's debut of the company-owned Greenleaf's Grille and Treat Street in New York City's Staten Island Mall saw a 40 percent revenue increase since last year, when Everything Yogurt & Salad CafÃ© and Bananas inhabited the space. President Tom Romano understands why: "Now you can be as imaginative as you choose and eat as healthy as you want," he says.
Romano says the success of these prototypes and the strength of their menu offerings have unleashed numerous possibilities. The company can now bring Greenleaf's Grille and Treat Street to strip malls and downtown locations, plus regional malls and airports. In addition to location-specific franchises, the company will offer franchisees master and multiunit franchise options in addition to existing single-unit deals.
- Atlanta-based AFC Enterprises has purchased Paradise Bakery & CafÃ©. The acquisition of this Sacramento, California-based Paradise Holdings Inc. subsidiary is AFC's fourth since May 1997. The agreement includes Paradise Bakery's 15 company cafes, 34 franchised units and a commissary storing proprietary items that are shipped to restaurants.
- In a move to increase business, Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Miami Subs Corp. and Jacksonville, Florida, quick-service seafood chain Arthur Treacher's Inc. have agreed to a co-branding alliance. Don Perlyn, president of Miami Subs, says he hopes the addition of sandwiches will increase Treacher's lunch sales and that the addition of seafood to the menu will bring more dinner guests into Miami Subs.
- Oklahoma City's CD Warehouse Inc. is entering the secondary market for compact discs with an agreement to acquire the franchise rights to 134 Disc Go Round stores, which will all eventually bear the CD Warehouse name. The addition of Disc Go Round, a division of Minneapolis-based Grow Biz International, will make CD Warehouse 300 stores strong, with locations in 40 states and five foreign countries. For a cool $7 million, the CD buyer, seller and trader will no doubt benefit from the acquisition of Disc Go Round, which earned $27 million systemwide last year.
Miami Subs Corp., (954) 973-0000, fax: (954) 975-3290
Restaurant Systems International Inc., (718) 494-8888, fax: (718) 494-8776
Triple Crown Sports Inc., (970) 223-6644, ext. 124, fax: (970) 223-3636