Conference to provide look into franchising

By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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Franchising expert Cari Lyn Vinci walks her clients through the process from personality assessment to obtaining financing and choosing the right business. Now she’s looking forward to sharing that knowledge with a wider audience at a conference March 2 at Thunder Valley Casino Resort. She describes it as the first-ever conference devoted solely to franchising and is working with David Snyder, Placer County economic development director, to coordinate the gathering. “Last October we decided to put together the different EDD departments and chambers (of commerce) and invite franchisors who are interested in developing business in our territory,” she said. The International Council of Shopping Centers signed on as the sponsor. “They’d just started a special interest group for franchisors,” Vinci said. “So it is the first time they’ve done this particular event.” Vinci, president of FranNetWest, has put together a program addressing four topics. Sessions will include “A Changed World of Work — Threat or Opportunity,” presented by speaker Carleen Mackay, director of Mature Workforce Initiatives. She’ll talk about changes in the franchising job market. “(Mackay) lives in El Dorado Hills but is internationally known for her expertise in the workplace,” Vinci said. “She’s written several books.” Vinci will discuss “Franchising — In Business for Yourself, not by Yourself,” looking at common misconceptions about franchising and “how to keep your day job while creating additional income via a semi-absentee business,” according to a press release. Financing aspects will be covered by Mary Norris, vice president of Wells Fargo’s SBA lending division; and Steve Stovall, vice president of business development for Benetrends Inc. According to a FranNetWest flier, 33 percent of franchises cost less than $100,000 and 85 percent cost less than $250,000. Vinci will close with a panel made up of franchisors. “I focused on ones that are interested in South Placer County (including Auburn),” she said. “I wanted to have a nice cross-section of different types of businesses. … They’ll (give) an overview of their business and what it costs to invest. They’ll talk about a day in the life of one of their business owners and discuss the qualities their top producers share.” It’s a unique opportunity, Snyder said Tuesday. “My perspective is that any event like this that holds the prospect of (boosting) the local economy and bringing new jobs into Placer County is certainly worth the effort. So that’s kind of where I’m coming from.” Snyder will give a welcome talk and handle introductions at the gathering. “We’re excited about the prospects,” he said. “I like the fact of the banks that are involved — we’ve got both Wells Fargo and Exchange Bank. They seem enthusiastic about helping finance these new (ventures). If they can do that through their own funds or tap into SBA, then I think there’ll be some real opportunities for local business people to get involved.” The conference is geared to those who have the means to invest in a franchise. “People who are most attracted to franchises are executives affected by layoffs, retired boomers who want to do something else and want to create another income stream,” Vinci said. There are also the “daddy deals.” “These are boomers who are looking at children coming out of school and recognizing they will have a long row to hoe,” she said. “Instead of giving them a fish, they’re teaching them to fish by buying a business with them.” Veterans are also good candidates for franchises, “because they like the structure,” she added.