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Survival Of The Biggest

In the war against category killers, franchises provide entrepreneurs with secret weapons: a big company brand and the specialized service of an independent.

This story appears in the August 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There's something to be said for not starting a , but rather jump-starting one by buying a well-known --especially if you're surrounded by massive chains. For entrepreneurs in certain industries, it's become the only realistic way to not get killed by category killers and to even gain a competitive advantage over retailers 100 times bigger than you are.

On their own, Stephen Adams, 44, who runs a pet-supply store, and Jeff McCoy, 36, a consumer electronics entrepreneur, might not have had a chance against the category killers in their respective industries. Fortunately, they didn't even try. Last year, Adams bought a Pet Valu franchise from Valu International, based in Wayne, Pennsylvania; in 1996, McCoy purchased a franchise from Tandy Corp.

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