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I'm not big on tattoos. Yes, I'm of THAT generation—the one that saw tattoos as the result of a crusty sailor's night of drunken debauchery in a faraway port.

The once-troubled Roy Rogers Restaurants chain is in the middle of a turnaround as it works to double its portfolio within the next five years. Peter Plamondon was one of the insiders who helped launch Roy Rogers for Marriott, in the 1960s, and it grew to 650 units. He left in 1979 to become a franchisee of the brand he helped create, and his sons, Jim and Pete Jr., purchased the entire chain in 2002. They had plans to rejuvenate and re-franchise, but had to shelve those plans during the recession. Now, with credit flowing again, they have begun re-growing Roy Rogers, which is about to open its 49th location in Winchester, Virginia.

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It's not far in miles from Washington Heights to Yonkers, headquarters of Rafael Alvarez's tax-prep brand. But he's traveled a very long way indeed, from Dominican Republic to NYC's mean streets to franchise success.

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Many franchises are committed to attracting military veterans, but none more so than Jerry Flanagan. His J-Dog Junk Removal brand is available only to those who've served, and he's developing other concepts.