Breaking The Mold

What's In A Name?

The success of a franchise is sometimes all in the name, or at least what that name connotes to customers. Franchise and royalty fees may purchase an entire business system, but customers usually walk in because of the name above the door. "It's a tremendous advantage to open a business with a recognizable trademark that creates almost instant foot traffic," says Caffey.

When Beverly and Greg McNutt relocated to a small suburb outside of Philadelphia, Beverly quickly tired of her 150-mile commute and rediscovered her dream of being an entrepreneur. According to Beverly, 38, the couple had always wanted to open their own store that sold frozen desserts such as custard, gelati, Italian ice and the like. "Then we saw Rita's Water Ice start to capitalize on the Philadelphia marketplace, and as we moved further out into the suburbs, we felt the marketplace would support a Rita's," she says. "We knew the brand was being built and felt we could really get a jump on it. You can grow much quicker with a franchise." Since opening their Collegeville, Pennsylvania, store in 1995, the McNutts have opened two more Rita's Water Ice locations in the area and plan to open a fourth this year.

Guided by his love of computers, John Shelburne chose Computer Renaissance based on interviews with franchisees and the system's national presence. "I know my limitations; I needed assistance in some areas. A franchise provides that assistance," says Shelburne, 36, who owns stores in Augusta, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina. "I didn't want to own a mom-and-pop shop where I not only owned the business, but it owned me. I wanted an asset that I could sell at some point."

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This article was originally published in the April 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Breaking The Mold.

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