Good advice comes in all stripes for regular readers
Regular readers of this column over the years have learned about my two sons, Ben and Sam, and their adventures as they grew up. Now adults with adult jobs, they are still my kids, and occasionally I want to tell them: shave your beard, eat more vegetables, listen to your voice mail, put on a winter coat (geez, it’s Minnesota already) or answer your cell phone (no, I don’t want to just text you).
But, they are adults. And when you are an adult, who wants their mommy to tell you to shave your beard? It’s hard to not give them unsolicited advice and counsel, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to once in a while. It’s not always easy to pull back.
It’s a bit like that when exiting a business, as franchisee Sean Tuohy realized when he sold 105 restaurants and 55 properties to several buyers including his business partner, Michael Roe. “You can’t just walk away,” he told Franchise Times Editor-in-Chief Beth Ewen. “You have to stair-step it down. There’s people involved. I thought turn the lights off and you leave.” But it wasn’t to be that way for him.
Tuohy and his divestiture are featured this month because he, alongside his investment banking firm Auspex Capital, is receiving a Franchise Times Dealmakers Award, a top industry honor for those who have completed the most creative M&A transactions over the past year. Rather than just exit the business and be done, he kept 11 restaurants. “Your competitive nature, there will be a vacuum,” Tuohy says Chris Kelleher of Auspex Capital advised him.
Tuohy’s story is just one of the page-turners in this month’s cover package about the 2019 Dealmakers. Touhy and his wife, Leigh Anne, grace our cover, but throughout the pages you’ll uncover more stories, from the first $2-billion franchisee to a cannabis franchise that is gobbling up other fledging businesses along the way. It’s not easy for these companies to run their businesses and try to stay on top of the deal process at the same time.
“Having two very smart groups look under the hood and spend a lot of time with you worrying about the small matters, just took every bit of our energy,” said Ben Jones, vice president and general counsel of Sola Salon Studios, whose company garnered an award for recent private equity investments into their brand. “I’m surprised we were able to keep the wheels on.”
These journeys are almost certainly assisted in getting to the finish line by advisers along the way. That’s why every April we feature the top attorneys in franchising with our Legal Eagles feature. As Franchise Times’ Nick Upton, who led the Legal Eagles editorial effort, writes, “These attorneys live and breathe franchising and truly understand the nuances of this unique business model. That deep understanding is now more important than ever.”
And there’s always more in store: We have a supermarket devoted to metal, LumberJacks and LumberJills, and a franchise exec whose earlier life got him up close and personal to a musical legend.
It is a great issue that I couldn’t put down, and I want to thank Beth Ewen for her expertise and gravitas as editor-in-chief in making that so. Beth is moving to Chicago for her husband’s job change, so this is her last issue in that role. Luckily for us, she’s staying on the team as senior editor, where she will be overlooking Lake Michigan and regaling us with stories and blogs on franchise notables.
We are excited to have Managing Editor Laura Michaels move up to editor with our May issue. We know under her direction, the magazine will continue to have fascinating coverage and great advice for the people who make franchising an interesting place to be. Which is what regular readers already know.