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Ready to Sell

Opening his franchise on a tight schedule wasn't easy, but Jim Solis was up to the challenge.

Though former Texas Rep. Jim Solis owns a law firm, is pursuing an accounting degree and invests in real estate, he still wanted more--so he added becoming a franchisee to his list of accomplishments.

When Solis, 44, learned about La Paletera, a store that sells Mexican ice pops, fruit cups and other treats, he felt he'd finally found the right idea--one that appealed to Texas' demographics. He decided to purchase a La Paletera franchise with his seven siblings and their spouses.

But as enthusiastic as Solis was about the opportunity, it had its challenges. First, the location he chose for his store was snatched up by another franchisee. Instead, he was offered the chance to run a location in a new outlet mall in Mercedes, Texas--just 60 days before the mall opened. He finished construction just in time, while another La Paletera owner trained his employees in her store.

The outlet center and Solis' franchise opened last November, and despite the obstacles, he was confident. He told La Paletera's president to give him one year to be ranked No. 1 in company sales--but it took him just one month, with sales of $60,000. With his wife, Diana, 36, handling bookkeeping and accounting from home, Solis plans to open two more locations in the next year or so.

Tracy Stapp Herold is the special projects editor at Entrepreneur magazine. She works on franchise and business opportunity stories and listings, including the annual Franchise 500.

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This article was originally published in the July 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Ready to Sell.

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