For Love Of Java

Making Nice

New Midas CEO puts emphasis on franchisees.

By Michelle Prather

Even before Wendel Province took over as chairman and CEO 18 months ago, Chicago-based Midas Inc. was actively pursuing the approval of its franchisees.

In October 1998, Midas sold its "marginally profitable" European operation for $100 million, $30 million of which was distributed last winter via a $15,000 check to every North American shop. The mission: overall refurbishment of shops, including repainting, new signage and computer upgrades. Midas also chose to turn all its company shops into franchises in order to focus more attention on its franchisees.

To solidify the already improved bond between Midas and its franchisees, Province has committed himself to making the relationship more personal. At press time, he'd met about 800 of 900 North American franchisees through group meetings.

There are no major plans for expansion of the 2,700-shop franchise until the end of 2000, according to Province. And as for the reception to his friendly tactics, the CEO says, "It seems they're welcoming me with open arms. But right now, I'm kind of on a honeymoon with them. At least I made it through the first year [and a half], and they're not throwing rocks at me."

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This article was originally published in the June 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: For Love Of Java.

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