A mix of style, substance all in one informative read
During our weekly company meeting a while back, FT Senior Editor Beth Ewen mentioned she was writing a cover story on Gina Rivera, founder and president of the Phenix Salon Suites franchise. Colleague Cindee Geach queried, “Wasn’t she on ‘Undercover Boss’?”
“She was?” I asked Cindee. Moments after our meeting adjourned, I had an email from her with the link to the episode. OK, I had to watch it. Gina was, after all, going to be on the front of Franchise Times.
I was transfixed. The Gina Rivera on our cover—perfect makeup, dazzling smile and yes, the spikey blonde ‘do—looked nothing like how the producers at “Undercover Boss” made her up. Or should I say, made her down. Sporting little makeup, a long brown wig, dowdy attire and wire-rimmed glasses, they did a great job at making her unrecognizable.
I will never be on “Undercover Boss,” but it did make me think how the producers might transform me. Would I be unrecognizable, too? What if my husband preferred the undercover publisher better than the real one? Would my kids, Ben and Sam, find me funnier when I cracked my jokes rather than giving me the almost imperceptible, but not quite, eye roll they do now? Would the dog begin to prefer me to my husband, rather than the way it is now, the other way around? I digress, as these are thoughts to ponder on my own time, not yours.
But I did identify with Rivera, as she self-deprecatingly recounted to Beth some of her mistakes along the way as she started the business, like putting down white carpeting in a salon, which was meant to dazzle, but “looked great for about 30 hours.” You’ll enjoy reading Beth’s article on Rivera and Phenix’s new investor, and how she intends to continue to put stylists first.
In this month’s issue, we also continue to focus on the people and businesses paving their own way. Take Senior Editor Tom Kaiser’s article on Fyzical, a physical therapy franchise that focuses on helping individuals regain balance and strengthen their core after injuries. “We have folks that, especially through balance and our vestibular therapy, who couldn’t work for months, if not years and, through some of our diagnosis and ultimately our treatments, help them get back into an independent life,” Fyzical CEO Brian Belmont told Tom. “And when you see that happen right in front of you, it’s an amazing thing.”
It’s these niches that make franchising fun to cover, including concepts devoted to mac and cheese or chicken salad. (Also featured in this issue.)
And we have everything from a doctor by day, franchisee by night (or franchisee after the clinic closes), and a report about cannabis and pizza (they tell us “psychoactive pizza” is a few years away. Whether you think that is good or bad, we’re not here to judge). Plus we have reporting on bong water and swim schools, but not in the same article, mind you. That would be both dangerous and gross.
And don’t miss Franchise Times Editor Laura Michaels’ interview with retiring International Franchise Association executive Scott Lehr. He’s “sort of” retiring, that is. I expect we’ll still see him at events we all frequent—just maybe in another capacity. Congrats to Scott.
There’s a lot of information in this issue, and if there is one thing our stories this month tell us, franchising can be transformative, with or without the wire-rimmed glasses.