progress. He expects to see roughly
half a dozen Gents Place franchise
deals signed before year-end.
Every year, hundreds of eager
entrepreneurs strive to franchise
their business. Their interest is
fueled in part by the megasuccess
of chains such as Five Guys Burgers
and Fries, which began franchis-
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But simply fi ling the legally
required paperwork to become a
franchisor is no guarantee of success. Of 318 franchise brands that
debuted in 2012, more than 100 are
now according to industry research and advisory fi rm
A CHOCOLATIER TASTES SWEET SUCCESS
What does it take to turn a family chocolate business into one of
Entrepreneur top new franchises of 2016? In the case of
Chocolate Works of Valley Stream, New York, it took almost 40 years, a
name change, new leadership, a inspiration, a 1,200-page operations
manual, a pro franchise team and more than $1.5 million.
The journey began in 1999, when son Joe Whaley took the helm from father
John Whaley at what was then gourmet chocolates purveyor 5th Avenue
Chocolatiere. His wife Colleen idea to boost business? Let people
make their own chocolates at the have parties.
Response was enthusiastic: A typical party rang up nearly $700. Whaley
began hearing from entrepreneurs interested in opening a standalone
Whaley developed a retail store prototype so the concept could in a
typical mall space. For the new Chocolate had
to invest in creating downsized candy-making equipment that would in a
1,500-square-foot store. Now, what Build-a-Bear Workshop did for buying a
stuffed animal, Chocolate Works does for buying a box of chocolates. like
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory shrunk down to a retail he says.
In 2011, Whaley tested the new concept through two licensing agreements,
a form of partnership that has fewer legal requirements. Soon after, two
Chocolate Works opened, in Manhattan and Scarsdale, New York.
After those units proved successful (one did $800,000 in sales its
year), Whaley hired an experienced team to help turn Chocolate Works into an
Whaley reports the franchise sold in just a few months. Including the
$50,000 franchise fee, a typical franchisee spends roughly $350,000 to open
a store, depending on local retail lease costs. Several early franchisees have
already purchased additional franchise locations, Whaley says, including one
Missouri franchisee who signed up last May to build four more units.
From its 2013 franchise debut, Chocolate Works now has 20 stores
operating and 19 more franchises sold, in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut,
Missouri and Pennsylvania. The main factory has tripled in size to keep up with
What tips does Whaley offer would-be franchisors? sure you hire
the right people and have a solid concept before you he says.
started with just chocolate, but added candy and ice cream, as we tested