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Fast Times in Franchising


Last week’s Franchise Expo South, held in Houston Feb. 5-7, was my first industry trip in my new gig as assistant editor at Franchise Times. Not knowing what to expect in a new world, it was far more exciting than typical three-day stints at a convention center.


First, while I was well aware there’s much more to franchising than hotels and restaurants, the creativity of some of the exhibitors was impressive. How will I resist going into business for myself while covering this industry?


Standouts: the American Robotics Academy (Alicia McDonald is a delight), Barkefellers (forget dogs—I want to spend the night here as wellness therapy) and Global Market Ventures (cool framing business).


Secondly, and most importantly, this is an extremely friendly industry. Everybody seems to know each other well. Life on the road within the bubble of an industry will do that, but as a newcomer, I couldn’t believe how many truly pleasant encounters I shared with people I’m truly excited to see next time around.


Standouts: Lawyer to the stars, Adam Siegelheim, Matthew Diaz of No Limit (future plans for a beer in Chicago!), Joe DeAngelis of NYS Collection Eyewear (thanks for picking up the Uber!), discussing obscure North American geology with Mary Ann O’Connell of FranWise, talking mutual friends with Tom Portesy of MFV Expositions, a very engaging conversation about getting motivated with Deatrice Lockhart from Shelton & Power and, most memorably, the kindness and generosity of Tony Foley, CFE, of United Franchise Group.


“Sure, whatever you want, just give me a call—anytime,” he said to somebody he had just met with questions about on-boarding new franchisees. What a guy!


With people like this in franchising, I couldn’t be more excited about my new role in this industry. And for those of you I haven’t met yet, I look forward to it.


I’ll see you in Vegas and beyond!


— Tom

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About This Blog

The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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