What's the Latest Development?

Still in the midst of an economic downturn, purchasing franchises offer some the feeling of stability in notoriously unstable times. Alas, no company, not even a franchise, is immune to risk and the possibility of failure. When a fire struck Michael Dean's Relax the Back store, he negotiated with the landlord to open a new space in time for the Christmas shopping season. Despite the chaos and lack of heat at the new location, Dean's business was saved by the personal connections he had built with his customers and his associates.

What's the Big Idea?

If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to grow a company. Just as Dean relied on personal relationships to overcome business obstacles, Matt Ferguson, operator of a ShelfGenie store, was helped by his friend and mentor after several unsuccessful attempts at securing a bank loan to open new franchise locations. Because of the credit crunch, not even a tight business plan was able to solicit a loan successfully. But Ferguson's friend saw the plan's potential and extend a loan using his own capital.

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