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For one brief, shining moment my eyes were amazing, then grass hit


I am not the kind of person who judges people on their eyelashes. I have suffered for years from mascara giving me a black eye (I like to rub my eyes … hey, I stare at a computer screen all day), so I know not to judge an eye by its cover.

So I was completely taken by surprise when I was on a real estate panel with Elizabeth Holte, the regional director for Amazing Lash Studio, a few months back and couldn’t take my eyes off her eyes. Her lashes looked so natural and yet so thick. Or maybe it was something about the way Liz talked about the benefit of leasing spaces to franchises that made me think it was time I burn my mascara tube and get extensions.

Since Liz is still filling out her territory in Minnesota, I went to the Chanhassen store, which is about a 30-minute drive for me in good traffic, a phenomena we never seem to have in the Twin Cities anymore. So if I was to adopt a lash-extension lifestyle, it was going to take a big commitment on my part since you need eyelash refills every two to four weeks. Full disclosure: I personally paid for my eyelashes, plus the eyelash special soap and a retractable brush. I am a paraphernalia devotee.

It’s actually quite pleasant to lie with your eyes closed for an hour or so. Before Skyla Richards got to work on me, we discussed the effect I was going for. We chose “cute,” because the longest lashes are in the middle, which would open up my eyes. There’s a little bit of a tickling sensation while the lashes are painstakingly glued to your own lashes one at a time. When I sat up and looked in the mirror, I was no Liz Holte, but I was pleased.

But alas, two days later, my allergies came back with a force and my watery left eye was causing me to rub my eye, a no-no in lash land. For most of my life I’ve lived in houses surrounded by lawns, so it’s a mystery to me why I developed an allergic reaction to grass after moving to the city, also known as the concrete jungle.

After another week, I had a “cute” eye and a somewhat naked eye with a few long lashes. Alas, I apparently am not their customer.

I won’t swear to it, but I may be tempted to try it again once the long Minnesota winter kills the pollen. In the meantime, I’m avoiding being on any more panels.

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Nancy Weingartner

Reach Nancy at 612-767-3207 or nancyw@franchisetimes.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nanweingartner

Now that I’m covering food on demand for Franchise Time’s e-newsletter of the same name, I’m showing up at more food events, because while food can be delivered, expos require you to get dressed and make an appearance. At the National Restaurant Association’s show in May, I stopped in for one day—which was just long enough to interview Omnivore Tech’s CEO and get my picture taken with cotton candy. (Who knew that in addition to the apple and pear body shape, women could have a cotton candy body?)

In NYC, I visited three food halls, a new trend that is going to do the same thing to food courts that fast-casual chains did to QSR. Franchisors, beware. Food halls tend to want independents, just as airport hubs are inviting local restaurants to fill spaces vacated by chains.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul airport is a case in point. One concourse has three different local restaurant concepts (gourmet hamburgers, bakery items and Holyland foods) housed in primary-colored food trucks. Across the way is another bakery making cupcakes and cookies from scratch, right in front of passengers’ eyes.

Transportation hubs seem to be a common thread. A concept that may be looking to franchise, Mr Bing, has a location in the food hall across from NYC's Grand Central  Station. It serves Chinese street food, called a bing. The crepe-like wrap is made to order on a round griddle.  Raw egg is applied with a paintbrush and scallions and black sesame seeds tossed on as the finishes. The filling can be chicken, beef or pork and vegetables. It's then wrapped up like a package and cut in half for a hand-carried breakfast or lunch.

It’s a competitive world out there. And like early man, we all need to keep evolving. Because in the blink of an eye, we could all be run over by a stationary food truck. Bada bing.

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