Hidden Treasures

The Last Frontier

Franchisors see potential in the inner cities.

Franchisors have finally discovered the inner city. According to Blair Taylor, founder of Inner City Development Corp., a Marina del Rey, California, franchise holding company, these former business no-man's lands are the last frontier for domestic franchising.

Today, when Taylor discusses the benefits of franchising in the inner city with franchisors at conferences nationwide, he always finds an eager audience. "Every time I speak on this subject, it yields dozens of calls from franchisors asking us to help them," says Taylor, an area developer for The Athlete's Foot in Los Angeles.

Companies like Burger King, Blimpie and Churchs Chicken have already created programs that target minority entrepreneurs. And, according to Taylor, who owns Mail Boxes Etc. and The Athlete's Foot franchises, these two companies are not far behind in developing initiatives as well.

If all these efforts are successful, they'll go a long way toward changing the perception that bankers and others in corporate America have about the business potential of the inner cities.

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This article was originally published in the November 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hidden Treasures.

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