Holidays aren't the only time of the year that calls for seasonal services. Many franchisors are doing what they can to build business throughout the year. In 1999, Christmas Decor Inc. added Nite Time Decor, a landscape lighting franchise, to provide additional income to its franchises during the off months. They now have 48 Nite Time Decor franchises nationwide.
"Our lighting companies are in offsetting seasons, so we're now in the position to sell two franchise concepts, creating year-round business for entrepreneurs," says Ketchum.
Honeybaked Ham has also made changes to strengthen off-season business for its franchisees. In November 1998, they acquired Hickory Hams, a small Georgia chain of cafes that serve sandwiches, as well as take-home hams and turkeys. According to Whitten, acquiring the stores allowed HoneyBaked Ham to enter the lunch/cafe business.
"Our franchisees have the best of both worlds," Whitten says. "Not only do they have the strong brand identification of HoneyBaked Ham and the subsequent high volume of seasonal sales, they also enjoy a healthy cafe business, which carries them through the rest of the year."
Michael SanFilippo, 50, and his wife, Sonya, 38, own 13 HoneyBaked Ham stores in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Some of their locations were originally Hickory Ham cafes. "When the Hickory Ham cafes became HoneyBaked Ham locations, we saw a tremendous increase in seasonal sales," says Michael. "In 1997, a year before the Gainesville, Georgia, [Hickory Ham] store became a HoneyBaked Ham store, the sales were $354,000. We took on the HoneyBaked name in November 1998 and sales jumped through the roof. We had made $637,000 in 1998 and generated $757,000 at that location in 1999."