HELP AND ADVICE
FRANCHISEE OF THE YEAR AWARDS FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
Thursday 01st January 1970
The British Franchise Association (bfa) has announced the 11 finalists who will be seeking recognition in the 2004 Franchisee of the Year Awards.
The theme for this year is “Beating the Competition - How Franchising Makes A Difference”. The awards, sponsored by HSBC Bank and supported by the Daily Express, will be judged by a panel chaired by the Association’s president Sir Bernard Ingham, a tall order given the calibre of this year’s finalists.
MARK MEREDITH, 38, operates the Apollo Blinds franchise in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent and has proved that franchising is a better way to be in business. After taking over his father’s established independent blinds business he switched to franchising with Apollo four years ago. Since then his business has grown by a staggering 300 percent, with 49 per cent of his turnover coming from repeat business and referrals. He is due to open a second Apollo outlet in the West Midlands.
CRAIG COLLINS, 40, from Exeter, is using recycling to give the region’s high street giants a run for their money. Craig runs the Cartridge World franchise in Exeter, Exmouth and Plymouth, which refills and remanufactures a wide range of computer printer cartridges from its retail premises. He claims that recycling can create computer consumable that are up to 60 per cent cheaper. Craig started his business two years ago and his turnover has topped £750,000.
JOHN MURRAY, 44, operates the Cash Generator franchises in Airdrie and Wishaw. After 23 years in the armed forces John attended a franchise exhibition where he spotted a brilliant idea for recycling unwanted consumer goods. Initially he planned to set up on his own, but having grasped the complexity of the business, realised he needed the support of a proven franchisor. Four years on, his annual turnover is more than £1.5m. John says that the expert help and advice given by Cash Generator has enabled him to stay ahead of his rivals.
Welsh shoe retailer ROBERT BATES, 40, has four Clarks Shoes franchises, in Abergavenny, Brecon, Merthyr Tydfil and Exmouth. In August 1998 he acquired under-performing shops in Abergavenny and Brecon, implemented a massive investment programme and trebled the turnover. He acquired Merthyr Tydfil in 2001 when it faced closure and invested in developing his workforce. Robert’s business now has a combined annual turnover of £1.75m, compared with £375,000 five years ago.
RICHARD BALL, 36, a former bricklayer and IAN MICHAEL, 36, a wood machinist from West Glamorgan operate the Countrywide Grounds Maintenance franchise in Neath Abbey, a territory they acquired from an existing franchisee who thought that it had reached full capacity turning over £50,000 a year. By following the proven franchise system the two businessmen have added £100,000 a year, every year. They employ 30 staff and operate a fleet of 12 vehicles. Ian says: “Our customers receive a local service backed by a national company, while central buying allows to offer the best prices.”
MICHAEL RONEY, 57, says franchising has enabled him to build a multi-million pound business and stay ahead of the competition. A former civil engineer, Michael operates the Driver Hire employment agency in Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. Driver Hire appealed because it operated within a niche market and was a tried and tested business concept. Michael employs 11 people and is on target to turn over £4.75m this year, which he plans to double within five years to £10m.
JACK GLEN, 57, operates two McDonald’s outlets in Hamilton, where the strong community ties he has developed have helped him secure repeat business and stay ahead of the competition. Jack’s restaurants are the only McDonald’s in the UK not to receive a single complaint last year. Jack took redundancy and approached McDonald’s at a franchise exhibition. He employs 135 people and has the lowest staff turnover in the UK. He says: “I am a confirmed believer in our people and their development.”
Husband and wife team DAVID and JAQUI HENSHAW, from Swindon; will soon be running three National Schoolwear Centres. When Jaqui, 43, wanted to return to work after raising a family, she and David, 42, decided to start their own business and chose the National Schoolwear franchise. Turnover is £500,000, and projected to reach £1m by the end of next year when they open stores in Newbury and Basingstoke. David says: “As part of a national franchise we can compete with the big high street names through bulk buying. And unlike our major competitors, we retail school wear all year round.”
ADAM and RUTH BRENNER operate a Prontaprint print-on demand franchise in Newcastle and faced stiff competition from their rivals next door. Adam, 44, and Ruth, 46, bought the franchise seven years ago when it was turning over less than £250,000. They took on the franchise knowing that their biggest competitor was located next door, and set out to beat the competition by promoting the strength of the Prontaprint brand. Since then the business has created eight new jobs and seen sustained growth of more than 15 per cent year-on-year.
Former apprentice garage mechanic SIMON STACK, 42, runs a Snap-on Tools franchise in York. When his apprenticeship came to an end, Simon decided he wanted his own business and went into franchising. With the support of Snap-on, Simon now operates three mobile sales units and turns over almost £750,000. He says that being part of a national network, and having the support of a progressive franchisor are the keys to his success.
Cathryn Hayes, HSBC’s national franchise manager, says: “HSBC has supported many franchising success stories. All of the finalists deserve success and recognition, not only because they have made the most of business format franchising, but also because they have worked hard and recognised the power of local knowledge and excellent customer service.”
The awards will be presented at a gala dinner at the International Convention Centre Birmingham on Thursday October 7 2004. The event is a highlight of National Franchise week and precedes the National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC Birmingham.