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The Big Bang

How franchising became an economic powerhouse the world over

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This story appears in the January 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

For the 25th anniversary of Entrepreneur's Franchise 500®, we asked franchising veteran David J. Kaufmann for his perspective on how franchising has changed the economy and opportunities for entrepreneurs over the past quarter-century. Among his accomplishments, Kaufmann, senior partner at law firm Kaufmann, Feiner, Yamin, Gildin & Robbins LLP in New York City, is author of the New York Franchise Act. He and his firm represent some of America's largest and best-known franchisors. Here are his thoughts:

The year was 1980.

Dallas, M*A*S*H and Three's Company ruled the television airwaves. People were boogieing (how's that for a 1980 word?) to Billy Joel's new release, It's Still Rock and Roll to Me. Jimmy Carter was president; Ronald Reagan only a candidate. The phrase "word processing" was largely unknown, as most folks were still banging out documents on their IBM electric typewriters. And Entrepreneur magazine published its first Franchise 500® ranking of the nation's leading franchisors, the first ever in the industry.

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