By Connie Cousins
- Game Plan
Minneapolis-based Grow Biz International--the parent company of used-merchandise franchises Once Upon A Child, Play It Again Sports and Disc Go Round, among others--has just added a sixth division to its franchise group.
With the recent acquisition of Cleveland-based Video Game Exchange (VGE), Brad Tait, president of the new division, expects to open 50 new It's About Games! stores next year.
It's About Games! sells used video, computer and board games; comic books; trading cards; and "Japanamation" videos. A competitive idea, considering VGE's 40 corporate-owned stores racked up $17 million in sales last year. That track record, plus Grow Biz's expertise, should be a winning combination.
In July, London-based Allied Domecq PLC, parent company of the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream chains, acquired Campbell, California-based sandwich chain Togo's Eateries.
Togo's acting president Kim Lopdrup says the three chains' units will become co-branded locations, drawing customers all day long for Dunkin' Donuts doughnuts, Togo's sandwiches and Baskin-Robbins ice cream.
The key to Ann Arbor-based Molly Maid Inc.'s newest franchise venture, Home Service Express, is simple: Consumers lead busy lives--a reality this home-cleaning franchise system has banked on since 1979.
Home Service Express opens this month as a sister company to Molly Maid, offering customers laundry and dry-cleaning pickup and delivery.
David McKinnon, Molly Maid CEO and chairman, says he foresees the company adding 50 to 75 Home Express Service units next year.
- Word Has It...
In August, Princeton, New Jersey-based Berlitz International acquired ELS Educational Services Inc. With the purchase, Berlitz adds to its career- and business-oriented language programs a franchise system chiefly aimed at students preparing to enroll in U.S. colleges or universities. ELS' franchise operation covers 16 countries; the company's revenues for 1996 were $62.6 million. Berlitz currently operates language schools in 39 countries worldwide.