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First Bite

The Chocolate Martini Bar was a hit in Buffalo--but how would it play in Cleveland? The high drama of being a first franchisee

This story appears in the April 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

First Bite

Taking a local business and scaling it up to a national franchise is a stressful, risky, even ill-advised venture for many entrepreneurs. Being the first franchisee of an unproven concept? That's the definition of foolhardy. But Joe Novak, Tammy Gunya-Novak and their partner Dominic Fanelli were so impressed by the wildly popular Chocolate Martini Bar in Buffalo, N.Y., they were willing to become the franchise's guinea pig to bring the concept to their hometown of Cleveland.

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