From the August 2002 issue of Entrepreneur

Elaina Wonnell believes in the benefits of tanning, both for stress relief and to give the skin that nice bronze tone, and she had a feeling her Fabutan franchise would be a hit in her warm but beachless community of Cambridge, Ontario. "It was an opportunity of a lifetime," says Wonnell, 45. "I knew this was a gold mine."

It seems Wonnell's hunch has paid off. The Cambridge salon operates six tanning beds for 15 hours a day, seven days a week, to meet demand. "I could put in a seventh [bed] and [still] be booked solid from 8 in the morning until 10 at night," she says.

With a growing client base of about 4,000, Wonnell is hard at work creating a tanning mini-empire. She hopes to open two new Fabutan salons this fall and intends to own several more.

Operating a string of franchises will be a change of pace for the hands-on Wonnell, but a strong staff and Wonnell's constant availability should make the transition smooth. "I can run my salon over the phone and via fax. I don't even need to be here. My staff is as capable as I am," she says. "They're so well-trained, they can run this with no problem at all."