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Workin’ hard: Even worked on a Sunday once


Seventeen-year-old son Sam just started working at his new job at a convenience store. Not only does he have to balance a register at the end of his shift, during our mega snowstorm last month here in Minnesota, Sam was on duty and had to shovel their walks numerous times while 20 inches of snow came down. It’s a complicated and busy life he leads!

So, just a word of warning, on a day Sam works, do not ask him to do a job around the house. The answer is usually thus: “Mom, I just worked today.” And here is where I, not attractively, snort. Because really, I put in a full day of work and then come home and just sit around all the time. (There must be a laundry fairy at our place.)

It is a difficult journey my kids, Sam and his college student brother Ben, have to take. Work, work, work! OK, I will dispense with the sarcasm now, because I want to tell them, and you, about the subject of our cover story this month: George Zografos, a Dunkin’ Donuts and Harley-Davidson franchisee. According to Franchise Times Executive Editor Nancy Weingartner’s report, Zografos’ success was hard won. He grew up in a poor, working class neighborhood in Boston where he shared a twin bed with his brother, while his grandfather slept in the room’s other twin bed. The family of seven shared one bathroom.

In December, Nancy visited Zografos and his wife, Cathy, at the home they are just about to sell as they become empty nesters. With 8,120-square feet, it is an abode most of us only dream about owning. But what impressed Nancy the most was despite their wealth, the couple was one of the most down to earth she’s met in her franchise travels. Humble beginnings and hard work can do that to a person.

Mary Jo can be reached at 612-767-3200 or at mlarson@franchisetimes.com


In Franchise Times this month, we’ve also featured our annual “20 to Watch” report on the people, events and trends we think you should watch over the next year. From basketball ministries, reality TV and aging franchisees, you’ll want to read this feature and see if you agree with our choices. Write me a note. I’m interested to learn if you think we missed anyone (or anything), or if you think we’re totally off base. I believe we have an interesting list. See if you agree.

Our franchise focus is health, nutrition and fitness franchises this month, which makes me long for my youth for two reasons: 1.) There’s a kickball franchise, which was a sport I was no slouch at back in 5th grade; and 2.) Madonna has opened a fitness franchise. Yes, I was a fan of hers in college (I know, I’m dating myself), but if I could get pipes (aka arms) like hers, I wouldn’t be a material girl, but I’d be a happy one.

We’re also beefing up our international section this year along with other changes you’ll notice. We’re working hard and challenging ourselves to keep Franchise Times fresh and inviting - for those readers who are new to us, and those who’ve been our friends for years. We want you to keep reading. After a long day, we may even go home and still be able to get the laundry done. Sam, are you listening?

Publisher’s note: Congratulations to Franchise Times Executive Editor Nancy Weingartner, Reporter Jonathan Maze and Senior Designer Joe Veen, who won awards for excellence in journalism at the Minnesota Magazine and Publishing Association’s Excellence Awards in November. We’re lucky they’re on our team.

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