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Ax and you shall receive: an issue full of fun tales


Yeah, I got angry with my kids from time to time when they still lived at home. Sons Ben, now 28, and Sam, 23, caused me some angst at times. Like that time (plural?) I showed up at parent-teacher conferences and I learned assignments were missing. Upon confronting him/them, I either got the “OK, Mom. OK,” with the roll of the eyes. (Was I the one who didn’t turn in the assignment? The best defense is a good offense, I guess). Or the blank stare, like “huh?” I always asked as a follow-up to that stare, “When everyone else was turning in their assignment, what were YOU doing?”

Or, how about the time the dog ate their dirty socks? Apparently one of the boys left them in the backyard—a mystery as to why— and the dog ate them. Try explaining that one to the vet when you are there, hanging your head hours later. (Bad owner!)

And my favorite: Why you had to be of the female persuasion to take out the garbage. As the only girl in my house, apparently I was the only one who knew where the garbage cans were. (Sorry husband Doug, I’m throwing you in that one, too.)

I don’t believe parenthood ever made me mad enough to throw something, at least I didn’t think so as I read Editor-at-Large Nancy Weingartner’s story about Stumpy’s (a name I can’t make up), a franchise where you throw hatchets. I kid you not. For a fee, you rent a pit, plus receive tips from an “axpert” before you start throwing. Maybe if I had an ax to grind, I’d give it a try.  

These off-the-beaten-path franchises are one of the reasons I love working in this sector, but even more fascinating to me are the people who run these businesses. Which leads me to our cover story this month, the Zor Awards. Created by editors Beth Ewen and Tom Kaiser and the crack editorial team, this is an annual feature that debuts in this issue.  All of us here on staff have been asked many times over the years, “What’s the best franchise to buy?” As Beth writes, we usually mumble, “it depends.” There are so many factors that go into that answer, we usually can’t do it justice.

The theory behind the Zor Awards is to take some intriguing segments (fast- casual pizza, for instance), and blend a number of components into the decision of which brand comes out on top. (We explain how they were chosen on page 20.)

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson

Reach Mary Jo at 612-767-3208
or mlarson@franchisetimes.com

And as I mentioned earlier, I love the people stories behind the brands, and so I was excited by the way the team decided to present these leading concepts to you, the reader.

Instead of interviewing the franchisor’s management team, our writers sat down with the franchisees of the winning brands. What better way to really understand the ups and downs, the ins and outs, of a franchise than to ask the people who run the units day to day?

And while running a successful franchise business is rewarding, even with the top brands comes a fair amount of work for their franchisees. Said Corbin Schlatter, a franchisee of one of our Zor Award brands, “If you come into it expecting in three or four years to be running this multi-million dollar operation, and you’re just kind of sitting back and managing it, it’s probably not going to work.” Read on to discover how these franchisees made it.

As always, we have more than our fair share of information this month, from expanded finance and real estate coverage and franchising in the Middle East to shopping for franchise swag, and then some.

And if you ax me, this is a pretty compelling read. As you can see, we never do a hatchet job here at Franchise Times. Just doubling down on the pun to see if I can get all three of my boys to roll their eyes at me.

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