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If the Shoe Fits...

Need a change? Put your best foot forward and take on a new franchise.

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This story appears in the July 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

After gaining sales and marketing experience over 23 years with Fortune 500 companies, Gary Gramkow says, "I had a burning desire to try something on my own." Enlisting a franchise matchmaker and buying the right franchise was what Gramkow, 47, needed to put a bounce in his step. Now he makes it his business to ensure that anyone who visits his Foot Solutions storefront leaves with a bounce in theirs. Using a computer digitizer that scans the foot, Gramkow fits his clients on the spot for custom shoe inserts and orthotics that can effectively alleviate foot, lower back and neck pains. "The ideal walking platform for the human foot is moist sand," says Gramkow. "Our goal is to simulate that platform."

In any successful business, hiring the right personnel is important, but in a highly specialized franchise such as Gramkow's, it's crucial. "This is not your run-of-the-mill shoe store staffed by minimum wage employees who could care less about what they're selling. On some days, this place resembles a clinic, so I'm willing to pay a premium for people who know what they're doing and who can effectively communicate to clients that their needs will be taken care of."

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