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A textbook case in family biz, minus the eye-rolling


When my kids were in grade school, my neighbor across the street home-schooled her kids. I couldn’t even begin to fathom it. First and most obviously, I worked full-time outside the home. Secondly, and probably most importantly, my kids and I couldn’t have done it. Seriously, I think we would have killed each other.

Ben and Sam, now 28 and 24 respectively, were good kids. They were polite around adults, behaved in school and had pretty good table manners (elbows off the table!).

But, I did my fair share of nagging when it came to homework over the years. The thought of doing that all day? It boggled my mind. Better left to the professionals was my thought at the time. I couldn’t imagine having the boys roll their eyes at me all day. My co-workers here didn’t do that—at least in front of me.

And then there’s the concept of working with husband, Doug, who, at night and on weekends, is a delight. But to be together full-time, toiling over a business? He would be the first to raise his hand to opt out. I think my charming allure would wear thin on a 24/7 basis.

That’s why I am always in awe of individuals who work together in the family business. It’s our cover story this month: Shane Evans, who with husband, Wayne, founded Massage Heights, a franchise that provides, you guessed it, massages and now facials. As Editor-in-Chief Beth Ewen writes, Evans wanted to make massages affordable for the masses, and cashed in her 401(k) to launch the business. On top of the fact that franchising stalled for a while, Evans also had brought on her brothers and mother into the business. How did she jump start franchising, while integrating family members into the company? You’ll have to read Beth’s story to find out. Not all family businesses survive. Why did Evans’ thrive?

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson

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

You also won’t want to miss Editor-at-Large Nancy Weingartner Monroe’s companion piece on The Gents Place, an upscale barber franchise for men founded by Ben Davis. Massage Heights’ parent, The Elevated Brands, acquired it last year, and now that brand has Evans and company to help them with the franchise side of the equation. And, it doesn’t hurt that football great Emmitt Smith made an investment in The Gents Place, too—that’s star power that’s hard to replicate. My favorite quote from Smith came from a former coach: “We don’t fire you, you fire yourself.” He’s carried that with him—a testament to not giving up in football, or in business.

Beth, Nancy and other members of the editorial team also were hard at work covering the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in March. We lined up 45+ CEOs and CFOs of franchise brands to present their brand story to an audience of lenders, investors, franchisees and other franchisors. The writers worked overtime to bring you the updates here, within these pages. What are these C-suiters doing well, and where are their challenges? We think you’ll learn a thing or two from these executives.

We also have stories on beet lemonade, beer and more beer, a franchise where “feet are the stars,” surviving and building after Hurricane Katrina and sustainable seafood.

As you can see, we like to mix it up to keep you entertained and reading.

Perhaps if I had thought of Franchise Times as a textbook when my boys were in grade school, home schooling would have been a breeze. While I didn’t teach them the “three Rs,” they did have to listen to my endless work stories and my cautionary tales about working hard and not firing themselves. So I guess you could say I did teach them a thing or two.

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