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Passing on life lessons, whether welcome or not


Back when son Ben, who’s in his 20s now, was in high school, he enrolled in a journalism class as an elective. I was delighted! Visions were dancing in my head: The two of us would discuss journalism best practices. We’d talk about story leads and sources. He and I would come up with interesting story ideas. Maybe I could help him decide which stories were relevant to cover for his assignments.

And then I had a lightbulb moment: I. Could. Speak. To. His. Class. Who wouldn’t want me, a publisher, to come in and give my two cents on the world of journalism?

As I drove to work in the mornings, I thought about how I could bring the class copies of Franchise Times and discuss the difference between trade pubs and general interest magazines. I could pull out various stories as examples of feature stories versus news articles. In my mind, my presentation was forming.

I approached Ben. “Hey, why don’t you tell your journalism teacher I work for a magazine? I could come in to talk. Maybe send some magazines in.”

His answer was vague, but he thought he could do that. Maybe. Some day.

I know that by now, my fellow parents are cringing for me because they know that their son or daughter wouldn’t want their mother to be privy to their high school world, even if the teacher might welcome them.

Maybe Ben would have invited his Uncle Jeff to address his class, but we’ll never know because my brother’s not in journalism.

Not every kid feels the way Ben did. Back when Jake Schostak was a kid, he was excited to introduce his uncle at the school’s career day; he thought Uncle Mark was THE Burger King. Mark just happened to be running TEAM Schostak, at that time a growing Burger King franchisee.

When you read FT reporter Nick Upton’s cover story this month on the company, which includes their growing pains and success stories, you’ll also learn about their move to bring in the next generation. There are nine first cousins, so, as Nick writes, “the elder Schostaks figured out a way they should enter the business and how to operate in the business.”

Mary Jo Larson

Mary Jo Larson

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

It’s only part of how they’ve grown into a successful multi-brand, multi-unit and now multi-generational restaurant company today. Theirs is a values-oriented entity, which came out of the struggles early on. Identifying and then living those values every day has proven to be a big part of their success.

Speaking of the younger generation, Nick’s regular feature, Multi-Unit Mindset, features entrepreneur Dylan Patel, who operates a multi-brand, multi-unit company himself. All at the ripe old age of 21. Apparently Patel opens new units during college breaks. I ask you: What were you doing during college break?

We also have stories on pick-up games at the gym, a regional sub sandwich chain that is revitalizing itself, and a mall concept whose CEO isn’t that concerned by the demise of shopping centers. Add in a tale of an activist investor, shipping containers, and a well-known concept that is taking it to the streets—the streets of Manhattan, that is.

Each and every month we school you in the stories that make franchising tick. That reminds me, since Ben currently works for a bank, I might see if he wants me to visit him at work and school his boss on franchise finance. Thoughts?

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