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Turning Monsters and Mini-golf Into a Successful Franchise

In just six years, the evil spawn of monsters and mini-golf has lumbered its way to 26 franchises in 12 states.

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

Christina and Pat VitaglianoChristina Vitagliano has always specialized in haunted houses of one sort or another--as co-owner of an auction house in Danielson, Conn., she was knee deep in creepy antiques, family feuds and restless spirits. "You deal with a lot of people, and it's a negative business," she says. "Somebody's passed away and other people are fighting over whose stuff is whose so they can sell it."

After five years, she'd had enough and sold her share of the business, which left her with no cash flow and a lease on the spooky, dilapidated mill that housed her auction house. Her solution? Mount some black lights, build papier-mâché monsters and turn the big, open space into a haunted mini-golf course.

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