From the August 1996 issue of Entrepreneur

Child-related businesses aren't just kid stuff anymore. Companies catering to the little ones are big news, as you can see from the listing of 59 hot kids' franchises on the following pages.

What's all the excitement about? As baby boomers' babies are growing older, they are creating a demand for a wider variety of products and services. Where day-care and baby retail stores once filled all the needs of baby boomers' infants, today those babies are 9- or 10-year-olds, fueling demand for everything from science education franchises to companies that hold Victorian tea parties.

Trends affecting our society as a whole are also making their mark on child-related businesses. The baby boomers' interest in fitness is seeping down to their offspring, making children's play centers and exercise programs one of the fastest-growing franchise categories today. Parents want to tear their couch-potato kids away from television or video games, but don't always feel safe letting them play unsupervised outside. Instead, they cart them off to supervised indoor play centers for hours of fun. Some centers let parents and kids play together; others, located in shopping centers, take the kids off parents' hands for a few hours of uninterrupted browsing; still others offer birthday parties or other special events to bring in additional profits.

Besides physical fitness, parents are concerned about their children's mental fitness as well. Shrinking school budgets and decaying school systems have left a wide-open niche for entrepreneurs to fill. Companies that provide all types of extracurricular educational programs, from music lessons to science classes, are sizzling. Since many children don't get enough access to computers in the classroom-and since computer know-how is essential to any child's future success-programs that train kids in computer use are especially popular.

Computerization is behind another hot category: personalized children's books that entrepreneurs print on personal computers. And safety concerns are spurring the continued success of child identification services. Companies that provide children with ID cards, fingerprint them, or otherwise maintain records police can use to find a lost child are thriving.

Of course, traditional businesses such as children's apparel and furniture stores are still going strong. But there's a new twist on this old theme: shops selling used furniture or clothing. Today's two-income parents are willing to spend money on their kids where it counts, but they don't want to spend more than they have to. The value-conscious consumers of the '90s show no signs of returning to the free-spending ways of the '80s, so this could be a category to watch.

Text by Karen Axelton; listings compiled by Stephanie Osowski.

59 Hot Kids' Franchises List

ABOUT YOU! BOOKS

3913 Todd Ln., #603

Austin, TX 78744

(512)444-6681

Personalized children's books

Yr. began: 1987, Opportunity offered: 1987

Total investment: $495

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada

Licensing opportunity

ANNIE'S CLOSET

3568 Sagunto St.

P.O. Box 1417

Santa Ynez, CA 93460

(805)688-5952

Children's clothing

Yr. began: 1986, Opportunity offered: 1987

Total investment: Varies

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada

Dealership

BABBITT BASEBALL CAMPS INC.

P.O. Box 431

Burtonsville, MD 20866

(800)253-3014

Baseball camps

Yr. began: 1983, Yr. franchising: 1995

Total investment: $5K-10K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Franchise

BABY'S AWAY INT'L. INC.

846 S. Vance St., Ste. B

Lakewood, CO 80226

(800)571-0077/(303)936-7151

Baby/children's product rentals

Yr. began: 1990, Yr. franchising: 1993

Total investment: $12K-15K

Where seeking: All U.S., foreign

Franchise

BELLINI JUVENILE

DESIGNER FURNITURE BOUTIQUE

155 N. Main St.

New City, NY 10956

(800)332-2229/(914)638-4111

European designer children's furniture/accessories

Yr. began: 1982, Yr. franchising: 1983

Total investment: $125K-200K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada

Franchise

BEST PERSONALIZED BOOKS INC.

Best Plaza, 4201 Airborn

Dallas, TX 75248

(800)275-7770

Personalized books, stationery, clocks & business cards

Yr. began: 1991, Opportunity offered: 1991

Total investment: $1.9K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Licensing opportunity

BUILDING BLOCKS INC.

1720 Post Rd. E., #112

Westport, CT 06880

(800)220-9407/(203)256-4380

Specialty toy store

Yr. began: 1986, Yr. franchising: 1995

Total investment: $156.75K-246K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

CHILD SHIELD, U.S.A.

103 W. Spring St.

Titusville, PA 16354

(800)488-2445

Children's safety products & services

Yr. began: 1990, Opportunity offered: 1993

Total investment: $495-3K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Dealership

CHILDREN'S ORCHARD

315 E. Eisenhower Pkwy., #316

Ann Arbor, MI 48108

(313)994-9199

Children's products resale boutique

Yr. began: 1980, Yr. franchising: 1985

Total investment: $50K-98K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Franchise

COMPUCHILD SERVICES OF AMERICA

406 Rushwood Dr.

Murfreesboro, TN 37130

(800)619-5437/(615)896-5216

Preschool computer education

Yr. began: 1994, Opportunity offered: 1994

Total investment: $12.5K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Licensing opportunity

COMPUQUEST

600 Central Ave., #245

Highland Park, IL 60035

(800)659-5437

Children's computer learning services

Yr. began: 1991, Yr. franchising: 1991

Total investment: $33.4K-71.6K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

COMPUTERTOTS

10132 Colvin Run Rd.

Great Falls, VA 22066

(703)759-2556

Computer enrichment program for children

Yr. began: 1983, Yr. franchising: 1989

Total investment: $33.9K-38.9K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

CREATE-A-BOOK/

PRESTO PERSONALIZED BOOKS

1232 Paula Cir.

Gulf Breeze, FL 32561

(800)732-3009/(904)469-9101

Personalized children's books

Yr. began: 1980, Opportunity offered: 1981

Total investment: $995

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Licensing opportunity

CREATE-A-BOOK CANADA INT'L. INC.

#206, 2916 19th St. N.E.

Calgary, AB, T2E 6Y9, CAN

(403)250-9322

Personalized children's & adult books

Yr. began: 1987, Opportunity offered: 1987

Total investment: $1.99K CAN dollars

Where seeking: Canada, other foreign

Licensing opportunity

CYBERPLAY COMPUTER

EXPLORATION

CENTERS

100 E. 5th Ave.

Mount Dora, FL 32757

(904)383-3330

Children's interactive computer center

Yr. began: 1995
Yr. franchising: 1996

Total investment: $340K-940K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

DINO JUMP USA

619 S. Cleveland St.

Oceanside, CA 92054

(800)570-3466/(619)754-5183

Inflatable jump rentals

Yr. began: 1989, Opportunity offered: 1994

Total investment: $35K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Licensing opportunity

EASTERN CLOTHING CO.

70 Rte. 10

Whippany, NJ 07981-2106

(201)386-1000

Children's apparel

Yr. began: 1948, Opportunity offered: 1991

Total investment: $10K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Licensing opportunity

EXPLORATIONS ENTERTAINMENT GROUP INC.

902 Clint Moore Rd., #136

Boca Raton, FL 33487

(407)998-3435

Children's entertainment & fitness facility

Yr. began: 1992, Opportunity offered: 1995

Total investment: $289K-852K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Licensing opportunity

FIT BY FIVE PRESCHOOL INC.

1606 Penfield Rd.

Rochester, NY 14625

(716)586-7980

Physically oriented preschool program

Yr. began: 1969, Opportunity offered: 1990

Total investment: $25K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Licensing opportunity

THE FOURTH R INC.

1715 Market St., #103

Kirkland, WA 98033

(800)821-8653

Computer training for children & adults

Yr. began: 1991, Yr. franchising: 1992

Total investment: $42K-73.5K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

FUTUREKIDS INC.

5777 W. Century Blvd., #1555

Los Angeles, CA 90045-5678

(310)337-7006

Children's computer learning centers

Yr. began: 1983, Yr. franchising: 1989

Total investment: $100K-120K

Where seeking: All U.S., foreign

Franchise

THE GODDARD SCHOOLS

20 Creek Rd.

Glen Mills, PA 19342

(800)272-4901

Preschool learning center

Yr. began: 1986, Yr. franchising: 1988

Total investment: $204K

Where seeking: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest

Franchise

GYMBOREE

700 Airport Blvd., #200

Burlingame, CA 94010

(415)579-0600

Parent/child play program

Yr. began: 1976, Yr. franchising: 1978

Total investment: $30.17K-63.76K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

GYMSTERS INC.

6111 Paseo Pueblo Dr.

San Jose, CA 95120-2741

(408)997-6997

Children's fitness services

Yr. began: 1980, Yr. franchising: 1988

Total investment: $19.75K-24.5K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Franchise

HEAD OVER HEELS FRANCHISE SYSTEM INC.

2106 Cahaba Rd.

Birmingham, AL 35223

(800)850-3547/(205)879-6305

Children's gymnastics/motor skills development system

Yr. began: 1990, Yr. franchising: 1993

Total investment: $28K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

HIGH TOUCH-HIGH TECH

7908 Wiles Rd.

Coral Springs, FL 33067

(800)444-4968

Science activities for schools/children's parties

Yr. began: 1990, Yr. franchising: 1993

Total investment: $58K-60K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

IDENT-A-KID SERVICES OF AMERICA

2810 Scherer Dr., #100

St. Petersburg, FL 33716

(813)577-4646

Children's identification program

Yr. began: 1986, Opportunity offered: 1987

Total investment: $12.5K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Dealership

J.W. TUMBLES, A CHILDREN'S GYM

12750 Carmel Country Rd., #A-102

San Diego, CA 92130

(800)886-2532

Children's gym

Yr. began: 1985, Yr. franchising: 1993

Total investment: $89.12K-109K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

KID KINGDOM

4410 Seneca Dr.

Okemos, MI 48864

(810)559-1415

Family fitness & fun center

Yr. began: 1993, Yr. franchising: 1994

Total investment: $380K-555K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

KID TO KID

406 W. South Jordan Pkwy., #160

South Jordan, UT 84095

(801)553-8799

Used children's clothing, products & maternity items

Yr. began: 1992, Yr. franchising: 1994

Total investment: $87.76K-116.06K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Franchise

KIDDIE ACADEMY INT'L.

108 Wheel Rd., #200

Bel Air, MD 21025

(800)554-3343

Child-care learning centers

Yr. began: 1979, Yr. franchising: 1991

Total investment: $130K-910K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

KIDDIE KOBBLER

68 Robertson Rd., #106

Nepean, ON, K2H 8P5, CAN

(613)820-0505

Children's footwear & accessories

Yr. began: 1951
Yr. franchising: 1968

Total investment: $100K-130K

Where seeking: Canada

Franchise

KIDS TEAM

8466 Colorado St.

Merrillville, IN 46410

(800)875-5439

Children's sports apparel

Yr. began: 1972
Yr. franchising: 1993

Total investment: $56K-101.5K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Franchise

KINDERDANCE INT'L. INC.

268 N. Babcock St., #A

Melbourne, FL 32935

(800)554-2334/(407)242-0590

Children's movement/educational programs

Yr. began: 1979, Yr. franchising: 1985

Total investment: $14.85K-26.6K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

KINDERMUSIK INT'L.

P.O. Box 26575

Greensboro, NC 27415

(800)628-5687/(910)273-3363

Children's musical education program

Yr. began: 1984, Opportunity offered: 1984

Total investment: $400

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Dealership

THE LITTLE GYM

8180 N. Hayden Rd., #D-200

Scottsdale, AZ 85258

(800)418-2878/(602)948-2878

Children's development/fitness program

Yr. began: 1976, Yr. franchising: 1992

Total investment: $120K-150K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

LITTLE SCIENTIST FRANCHISE CORP.

497 Main St.

Ansonia, CT 06401

(800)322-8386/(203)732-3522

Science & educational enrichment services

Yr. began: 1995, Yr. franchising: 1995

Total investment: $31.85K-81.5K

Where seeking: All U.S., foreign

Franchise

LITTLE WOMEN

21938 Costanso St.

Woodland Hills, CA 91364

(818)348-3320

Victorian dress-up tea parties for girls

Yr. began: 1992, Yr. franchising: 1996

Total investment: $37.24K-79.95K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Franchise

THE MAD SCIENCE GROUP

5460 Royalmount, #204

T.M.R., PQ, H4P 1H7, CAN

(800)586-5231

Science activities for children

Yr. began: 1985, Yr. franchising: 1995

Total investment: $49.8K-56.8K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

MY GYM CHILDREN'S FITNESS CENTER

12422 Santa Monica Blvd., #A

Los Angeles, CA 90025

(310)820-4586

Children's gym & play center

Yr. began: 1983, Yr. franchising: 1995

Total investment: $80K-110K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada

Franchise

ONCE UPON A CHILD

4200 Dahlberg Dr.

Minneapolis, MN 55422

(800)445-1006/(612)520-8500

Children's clothing & equipment

Yr. began: 1984, Yr. franchising: 1992

Total investment: $110.3K-200.6K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada

Franchise

P & L INFLATABLES USA INC.

1101 Bjork Dr.

New Lenox, IL 60451-1063

(800)586-7464

Inflatable rides & mechanical amusement rides

Yr. began: 1990
Opportunity offered: 1993

Total investment: $4K+

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada, other foreign

Licensing opportunity

PEE WEE WORKOUT

34976 Aspenwood Ln.

Willoughby, OH 44094

(216)946-7888

Preschool fitness program

Yr. began: 1986, Yr. franchising: 1988

Total investment: $1.8K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

POPCORN INT'L. INC.

27121 Aliso Creek Rd., #140

Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

(714)362-8445

Children's educational toys & materials

Yr. began: 1992, Opportunity offered: 1993

Total investment: $3K-5K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada

Dealership

PRE-FIT FRANCHISES INC.

10340 S. Western Ave.

Chicago, IL 60643

(312)233-7771

Mobile preschool fitness program

Yr. began: 1988, Yr. franchising: 1992

Total investment: $10.2K-11.3K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

PRECIOUS PLACES

P.O. Box 2207

Springfield, VA 22152

(703)690-0854

Decorating service for children's rooms

Yr. began: 1989, Opportunity offered: 1995

Total investment: $750

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada

Licensing opportunity

PRIMROSE SCHOOL FRANCHISING CO.

199 S. Erwin St.

Cartersville, GA 30120

(800)745-0677/(404)606-9600

Educational child-care facility

Yr. began: 1982, Yr. franchising: 1988

Total investment: $900K-1M

Where seeking: Southeast, Southwest

Franchise

ROMPAROUND

215 Rte. 22 E.

Greenbrook, NJ 08812

(908)752-1818

Children's indoor play center

Yr. began: 1993, Yr. franchising: 1994

Total investment: $402K-729.45K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Franchise

SAFE-T-CHILD INC.

401 Friday Mountain Rd.

Austin, TX 78737

(512)288-2882

Child security & identification program

Yr. began: 1987, Yr. franchising: 1992

Total investment: $13.9K-16.9K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

SITTERS UNLIMITED

23015 Del Lago, #D2-152

Laguna Hills, CA 92653

(800)328-1191

Child-sitting service

Yr. began: 1979, Yr. franchising: 1982

Total investment: $10K-15K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Franchise

TODDLIN' TIME

8084 Station Rd.

Manassas, VA 22111

(703)361-2945

Parent/toddler play gym

Yr. began: 1990, Yr. franchising: 1992

Total investment: $10K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Franchise

TOTALLY KOOL

1599 Fence Row Dr.

Fairfield, CT 06430

(800)301-9504

Retail children's apparel

Yr. began: 1993, Yr. franchising: 1996

Total investment: $284.7K

Where seeking: Northeast, Southeast

Franchise

TOY TRADERS

4334 Leland St.

Chevy Chase, MD 20815

(301)654-8697

Secondhand toy store

Yr. began: 1980, Yr. franchising: 1995

Total investment: $50K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Franchise

TUMBLEBUS INC.

632 Eastern Blvd.

Clarksville, IN 47129

(812)282-4386

Mobile gymnastics program/
children's indoor playground

Yr. began: 1989, Opportunity offered: 1990

Total investment: $30K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Licensing opportunity

TUTOR TIME CHILD CARE SYSTEMS INC.

4517 N.W. 31st Ave.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309

(800)275-1235/(305)730-0332

Child-care learning center

Yr. began: 1979, Yr. franchising: 1989

Total investment: $172K-257K

Where seeking: All U.S.

Franchise

UNITED BRONZE INC.

181 Greenwood Ave., P.O. Box 4799

Rumford, RI 02916

(800)888-9018/(401)434-7312

Baby-shoe bronzing

Yr. began: 1972, Opportunity offered: 1972

Total investment: $599-899

Where seeking: All U.S.

Licensing opportunity

USA BABY

857 N. Larch Ave.

Elmhurst, IL 60126

(708)832-9880

Juvenile furniture & accessories

Yr. began: 1975, Yr. franchising: 1986

Total investment: $200K-250K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada,
other foreign

Franchise

WEE WATCH PRIVATE HOME DAY CARE

105 Main St.

Unionville, ON, L3R 2G1, CAN

(905)479-4274

Private home day care

Yr. began: 1983, Yr. franchising: 1986

Total investment: $15.5K

Where seeking: All U.S., Canada

Franchise

WONDERS OF WISDOM CHILDREN'S

CENTERS

3114 Golansky Blvd., #201

Prince William, VA 22192-4200

(800)424-0550/(703)670-9344

Children's learning & child-care centers

Yr. began: 1989, Yr. franchising: 1989

Total investment: $132.32K-215.5K

Where seeking: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, South, Southwest, Canada,
other foreign

Franchise