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To Their Credit

AlphaGraphics franchisees learn by doing.

Success as a franchisee can sometimes be hit or miss. The key for print-shop franchisor AlphaGraphics Inc. is their Prospective Partners Program (PPP), which allows certain employees to earn up to $39,920 in credits over a three-year period. These credits can then be applied toward their own AlphaGraphics franchises.

This innovative program was designed in part to help potential franchisees find qualified replacements. Frank and Caroline LaPere, both 38, have the program to thank for their franchise in Austin, Texas. Frank worked at the franchising headquarters in Tucson, Arizona, for 12 years before deciding to take a "test drive" on the road to ownership by managing company-owned stores for 21/2 years. He then used his program credits to buy a store in January 1997, and has tripled its profits in the past three years.

"We took a store that wasn't doing great, and I was able to hit the ground running," LaPere says. "Due to my experience, we've been really successful" LaPere says. Now that's a plan.


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This article was originally published in the July 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: To Their Credit.

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