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Ace rebrands its new franchise; Drew Brees joins Franworth


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Ace Hardware acquired Handyman Matters and will rebrand all stores to Ace Handyman Services.

Ace Hardware, No. 5 on this year’s Franchise Times Top 200+ list, plans a major franchising push starting the second quarter of next year for Handyman Matters, the Denver-based home improvement service chain Ace acquired in September.

First, though, Ace will work on re-branding all Handyman Matters stores to a new name, Ace Handyman Services, and integrating the brands with Ace’s websites and lead-generation system. The franchise has 57 franchisees across 23 states, and Ace President and CEO John Venhuizen said there’s strong interest in adding Ace Handyman Services in all the places with Ace retail stores, numbering 4,559 in the United States as of last year. “It’s a nice strategic fit for us, we believe,” Venhuizen said. “We’ve had a lot of momentum and we feel this tucks in nicely to fuel additional momentum.” Although he declined to give a number as to how many units of the new brand Ace expects to sell, he said, “The opportunity is significant. Right now those 57 franchisees really only cover about 10 percent of the United States households, whereas our retail base covers 85 percent. We don’t want to set numeric goals. There’s easily 10 times the number” than are open now.


Brees Joins Franworth

Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl-winning quarterback, is now a partner and executive board member of Franworth, a consulting and brand acceleration firm founded by John Rotche. After connecting at an NFL extended education seminar, Rotche and Brees stayed in touch. Brees, who is a multi-unit Jimmy John’s franchisee and partner on the franchisor side for Walk-Ons, later became an investor in Title Boxing Club, which is part of Franworth’s brand portfolio. In addition to Title Boxing Club, Franworth’s portfolio includes The Lash Lounge, CityRow, Live Well and hair color brand Madison Reed. Brees said he loves franchising for a few reasons: “First it is the passion of the founder. It takes a lot of guts and courage to start your own business and have the drive to take the risks to grow it beyond the norm,” he said. “Having the opportunity to align with these courageous and talented founders is awesome.” The implementation of systems, processes and strategies is also “a fun challenge,” said Brees. “There is so much that goes into it. Then, to provide the opportunity for franchisees to take that proven concept and turn it into a business that gives them the chance for success and financial security is extremely rewarding.”


Flick Buys Kitchen Wise

Paul Flick is the founder of three franchises—360 Painting, Pro Lift Doors and Handyman Pro—and he completed his second acquisition, adding Kitchen Wise under the Premium Service Brands umbrella. Kitchen Wise “provides another service offering that we don’t already have that is very complementary to our other service offerings,” he said.

“When we look at an acquisition, we always look at, how do we leverage the end user, which is the customer. This is just an automatic fit.” Kitchen Wise is a kitchen, bathroom and pantry organization concept with three units that costs $70,000 to $100,000 to start. “There’s lots of white space,” Flick said, adding franchisees of his other brands are interested whenever he acquires or starts another.


WKS Adds 94 Denny’s

WKS Restaurant Group out of Cypress, California, is now the largest Denny’s franchisee in the system after adding 94 restaurants that belonged to QK Holdings. WKS now has 127 Denny’s units across 10 states. It also acquired two Arizona support centers and brought along the entire staff to support the entire group of restaurants. WKS, led by founder and CEO Roland Spongberg, is also the largest operator in El Pollo Loco and Krispy Kreme. “I think our relationship with Denny’s was such that when we talked with them, they were very much in favor of the deal because of how we run our restaurants,” said Spongberg. WKS operates 287 restaurants, including Wendy’s, Blaze Pizza and Corner Bakery units, across 16 states.

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