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The Wonder Years A look at how franchising and the Franchise 500® have changed over the past 20 years.

The next time you open your wallet, remember that one out ofevery three dollars you are carrying is likely to be spent onproducts or services of a franchised company. There are more than400,000 of them in the United States, and these firms account fornearly one-third of all retail sales. -Entrepreneur's 1stAnnual Franchise 500®, March 1980

It seems there's nothing new under the sun. And the onlyconstant in life is change. Over the past 20 years, franchising hasseen its share of constancy-and of change. We realized back in 1979just how monumental this marketing concept called franchising couldbe. And we took a leap of faith, inventing a ranking concept calledthe Franchise 500®.

On the 20th anniversary of our highly celebrated Franchise500®, we've taken time to reflect on how much has reallyhappened since our humble beginnings. Here, some excerpts from ourfirst Franchise 500® issue, with a flash forward to 1999:

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