From the December 2012 issue of Entrepreneur
economy-grim.jpg

Last year was a rough one for retail-sector employees, and 2009 isn't shaping up to be any better. That's a lot of retail veterans without jobs. The more entrepreneurial minded of those laid-off workers will go into business for themselves, putting their honed skills to use in an environment of their own making.

One franchise is looking to capitalize on that abundance of talent. GNC wants to encourage displaced veterans of the retail industry to open their own business in 2009, and to help them along, the company is offering a 25 percent discount off its $40,000 initial franchise fee ($30,000 with the discount).

"Sadly, so many great retail professionals are losing their jobs," says Tom Dowd, GNC's executive vice president of store development, "but at GNC we are excited to announce that we are now offering an incentive to retailers who have been displaced and are looking for a new career path."

Entrepreneur ranked GNC No. 23 overall in its 2009 Franchise 500 and No. 1 in the Supplement category for the fifth consecutive year. The franchise added 237 stores in the last three years and plans to open more than 50 this year.

The supplement and self-care industry is $21 billion large and continues to grow.