From the August 2001 issue of Entrepreneur

When Julie and Craig Wells bought Cash Plus Inc., their goal was to make it more than just a financial services franchise. The pair had humanitarian ideals in mind, partnering with Save the Children, which sponsors underprivileged children around the world.

"Our goal is to sponsor 10 children out of each of our stores," says Craig, 48, CEO and president. Some Cash Plus stores also offer discounts for bringing in canned foods, which are distributed to local food banks and rescue missions.

How did it all start? When Julie and Craig acquired Cash Plus in 1996, they had been looking at a variety of franchise opportunities. Craig had been in commercial real estate for 13 years, and Julie had a background in marketing and PR. When the previous owners approached them about becoming franchisors of Cash Plus, they saw an opportunity. They were right: The franchise opened 14 stores in 1996 alone.

Today, the company's services include check cashing, payday advances, international wire transfers and money orders. With more than 70 locations in nine states, Cash Plus earned sales of $18 million for 2000. And the franchise is still growing, opening 30 locations in the past 18 months and on the lookout for middle-management types and current franchisees to become unit owners-and charitable entrepreneurs.

"We're trying to do good within our community and be outstanding corporate citizens," says Julie, 42, COO. Sounds like they're right on the money.