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The International Franchise Expo this April in Washington, D.C., attracted a flurry of international interest. Both Toshi Hayakawa of Gyu-Kaku and Cameron Cummins of Marco's Pizza had delegates from Dubai offer to write them a check on the spot. (For the international summary of the expo, see columnist Phil Zeidman's take on page 61.)  Food is always a popular way to attract people to your booth, as Krista Laskos, franchise sales manager of Nature's Table Franchise Company discovered. Their mushroom-brie soup was one of the best giveaways of the show.

Here are some of the exhibitors and presenters at the show:

Julie Bennett

↑ Author Julie Bennett moderated the standing-room-only seminar, “10 Things Nobody Tells You When You’re Shopping For a Franchise,” which discussed how the potential franchisee has the upper hand in the franchise search process. Panel members Eric Stites of the  Franchise Business Review, left, and franchisee attorney Richard Rosen provided tips for dealing with salespeople and brokers, and how to negotiate terms in your favor. Bennett is the author of “The Franchise Times Guide to Selecting, Buying & Owning a Franchise,” which she autographed for book buyers after the session.

Carlotta Lennox

↑ Carlotta Lennox, president and founder of Hey Buddy! Pet Supply Vending Company, came up with her idea of a vending machine for pet supplies while visiting a dog park in Dallas with her dog. The model-turned-entrepreneur envisions the machines in any location pet owners frequent, from hotels to rest stops along highways. The company listed its investment range from $6,000 to $80,000 with $6,000 as the minimum capital required. It’s been franchising since 2007.

Sandella’s

↑ Sandella’s flatbread served oversized samples of its panni sandwiches. Working the booth were Maurice Garnett (who looks like he should be related to Boston Celtic starter Kevin Garnett), Annette Perzan and Kristin Martonik. The concept, which has 135 locations open, was founded in West Redding, Connecticut, in 1994.

Toshi Hayakawa

↑ Toshi Hayakawa, president of Reins International U.S.A. , developer of Gyu-Kaku, a Japanese import that serves Korean-style barbecue that diners cook at their own tables, was a first-time exhibitor at the show.  The U.S. branch of the company is located in Gardena, California.

Daniel, Brian and Rachel Pae

↑ Daniel, Brian and Rachel Pae in Firehouse Subs firefighters hats. Rose Pae and her husband were walking the show to see what concepts might interest her. Her youngest child is almost ready for school, so she’s looking to find an opportunity. What struck her fancy? “I liked Baja Fresh, but there are so many concepts out there,” she said.

Matt Shay

↑ IFA’s CEO Matt Shay pins the association’s 5K pin on Chairman Steve Greenbaum, CEO of PostNet. The pin signifies Greenbaum’s $5,000 donation— the maximum amount for an individual—to IFA’s FranPAC, its political action committee. In addition, Greenbaum’s company raised $11,000 at its convention. “We have a lot of 5K pins (left) to give away,” David French, IFA’s vice president of government relations, said. The donor programs are popular, French said, adding that they left the IFA convention in February with more money than they had raised for the entire year of 2007.

Bearclaw Coffee Co.

↑ Bearclaw Coffee Co. brought one of its oversized mobile units to the show. The specialty coffee company, based in Chelsea, Michigan, also has drive-thru restaurants. There are 26 units open, including three corporate-owned locations.

Allen Bonk

↑ Allen Bonk, director of business golf, Parmasters Golf Training Centers, based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. All the staff wore pink golf sweaters, not the team’s first choice, Bonk said, but fortunately all the sales guys were comfortable in their masculinity, he quipped.

Austin Ivey

↑ Austin Ivey, the 16-year-old son of Virginia Barbeque Founder and CEO Rick Ivey, took the leftover food they were giving away as samples at their booth to the Luther Place Memorial Church. After feeling guilty about throwing away so much good food after the first night of the show, Austin came up with the idea to donate the food to the homeless. His idea resulted in 90 homeless or extremely low-income women being fed at the N Street Village, the women’s shelter run out of the church six blocks from the D.C. Convention Center where the show is always held.

 

 

 

 

 

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