Names and ages: John Trometer, 29; John Gosik, 52; Judy Gosik, 57; and Gus Trometer, 31
Franchise name and description: My Favorite Muffin & Bagel Cafe offers gourmet muffins, bagels, coffee and sandwiches.
Franchise location: Kokomo, Indiana (with another store in Indianapolis)
1999 sales projections: $1 million
Starting slow: Every aspect of Gus Trometer's business has involved his family-- mother, Judy, stepfather, John and brother, John. But getting started was a slow process: It took a year for the family to even open the doors of its new franchise. "We dragged our feet on a lot of things because we wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing," says Gus. The family read books on franchising and did a lot of research. "We ate a lot of bagels," laughs Gus. They also spent a lot of time reviewing the building plans and adjusting the architect's work to get the restaurant just right. "It put us back timewise," says Gus, "but I think in the end, we knew more about what we were doing before we opened than many other franchisees in this company."
Taste of success: For Gus and his family, the time spent researching everything from bagels to the retail food market paid off: They had one of the most profitable openings of any franchisee in the system and are currently looking to open additional locations.
In the trenches: "The secret to success is being a hands-on operator rather than being an absentee owner," says Gus. "The benefits are worth it."