Yes, it is the day of texting, LinkedIn, reaching out and touching someone, but only electronically.

According to some of the greatest sales pros in the franchise community, there is still no replacing the good old trade show.  MFV Expositions, the producers of International Franchise Expos all over the world, are hosting yet another one at the Javits Center in New York City June 18-20th.  Here are tips from some of the top trade show veterans in franchising:

  • Tom Wood-President of Floor Coverings International-Booth 715.  "There is no substitute for the value of trade shows and meeting someone face to face. A handshake and a person-to-person discussion beats an email every time."
  •  Peter Barkman-Vice President of Franchise Development for CertPro Painters-Booth 106. "We are looking for executive level business professionals. It's best to vet those people in person than over phone or email."
  • Michael Peterson-Director of Franchise Development at Liquid Capital-Booth 1005. "These shows work if you work them! They are truly the only place where you can get face time with 15,000 or more entrepreneurs."
  • Brian Wieters-Vice President of Franchise Recruitment for Pillar To Post Home Inspectors-Booth 540. "The face to face interaction has taken on more of a key role in our technologically driven world. It builds the trust necessary to be a successful franchise recruiter."
  • Nick Bruckner-Senior Vice President of Sales for Signarama, Booth 632, a 900-unit chain that is the linchpin of giant United Franchise Group, known as the Trade Show Kings, sums it up pretty well.  He will be present and helping with UFG brands such as EmbroidMe-Booth 932, SuperGreen Solutions Booth 231, Transworld Business Advisors, Booth 769 and new powerhouse Experimac, Booth 833. Says Bruckner, "People buy from people they like. You can't know if you like a person you have never met." 

A Reflection on Veterans in Franchising

Today the country reflects on all that the men and women in service provide for its appreciative populace. We would like to salute some of our veteran franchisees by taking a look at how their unique military experiences have, in one way or another, contributed to their success as entrepreneurs. While owning a franchise pales in comparison to the tremendous good done by those in our armed forces, franchise ownership nevertheless requires the exhibition of many of the same skills, abilities, and traits which are inherent to our nation’s heroes. Below are but a few examples of how such valor is translated from the battlefield to the office.  

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a Gulf War veteran, Steve Taylor, owner of a Floor Coverings International franchise in Pleasanton, California, rose to Lieutenant and is no stranger to making bold decisions, a crucial trait for any successful entrepreneur. But more than just owning a business for the challenge it represented, Taylor was inspired by something quite basic—his longtime hobby as a craftsman. “I’ve always done a lot of home improvement projects around my home,” adds Taylor. “With my own business, I knew I could do for others what I was already doing—and do it better than the competition.”

Since opening, Taylor has worked on projects ranging from replacing water damaged floors, to flooring multi-million dollar homes. For Taylor, each new client offers a unique experience, an exciting prospect for a man used to a life of variety. “I love working with each individual customer,” Taylor explained. “When you work with your customers on a personal level, you can better tailor each project to meet their wants, needs, and desires.”

In the late 1990s, U.S. Air Force veteran Chad Marshall lost his father and three sisters in a span of 18 months. Heightening his grief, his mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease at the time, losing her primary caregiver upon the death of her husband. Yet the tremendous losses did not break Marshall. Instead, the experiences that caused him so much pain served in the end to inspire Marshall to a new calling: that of owner of ComForcare Senior Services at 827 N. Glendale Ave., serving the San Gabriel Valley including Pasadena, Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta and Monrovia.

Marshall’s opening of his ComForcare location in July, 2009 was the culmination of a journey that was an often tumultuous, yet in retrospect, always tremendous learning experience for the veteran-turned-entrepreneur. A broadcast video engineer by trade, Marshall spent four years of active duty working in broadcast maintenance for the Air Force where his duties included documenting missile launches and fixing television equipment. Upon completion of his four-year tour of duty, Marshall worked for Panasonic Broadcast and Television Systems Company for 16 years. Inspired by what he witnessed as his mother suffered from Alzheimer’s, Marshall turned to ComForcare Senior Services to help care for others in a similar situation. Marshall's experience proves that a member of the military never really stops serving his or her community. 

Window Genie franchisee Dick Stieren in Omaha, Nebraska may not be a veteran himself but he nevertheless has an important place in this story, as he plans to build a business legacy by mentoring and training U.S. veteran Wade Johnson to take over his business. Stieren wants to pass along his knowledge of business and success to someone he feels is capable of taking over his Window Genie. While Johnson works now as a Window Genie employee, Stieren has been imparting his business acumen so that Johnson can take over upon his retirement.

Diverse though their backgrounds may be, the drive, dedication, and resolve shown by these franchisees is consistent among all of the franchisees profiled--and, for that matter, for many military veteran franchisees in general. It's no wonder that franchising is a popular choice for those retired from the military. Franchising allows veterans to continue to use that which they've gained in service, making franchising an appropriate--and oftentimes successful--fit.  

ComForcare's Kelley Coulter Makes Most of 9/11 Experience

Throughout the Franchise Community, 9/11 Left a Story.

Here is one of them. 


No one with a connection to the World Trade Center like the one Kelley Coulter has would be blamed for still carrying the scars 13 years after the tragic events of that day.

The truth is, Coulter himself would probably be the first to admit that the pain he felt that day still resonates.

He has, after all, experienced a lot of it.   

Employed in the World Trade Center for 24 years as a commodity trader, Coulter would lose a number of loved ones as a result of the heinous attacks on our country, many of whom were the same first responders whose stories of heroism would populate the front pages of newspapers and magazines nationwide for years to come.

But what makes Coulter’s story distinct from so many others inspired by 9/11 is what he gained from that day filled otherwise with so much loss.

Inspired by the events, on September 12, 2001 Coulter volunteered for his local first aid squad where he has served ever since.

Experiencing the reward of helping others first-hand, Coulter was motivated to further aid others, particularly the elderly. In September, 2013 Coulter left the trading floor on which he had grown restless and opened his ComForcare Senior Services business in Red Bank, New Jersey.

As he reflects on a year of in business, Coulter stresses the human element of his operation. “My favorite customers are the ones in which they recommend ‘Kelley’ as opposed to the company because I want my clients and employees to know that I care about them and that it’s not just a business,” says Kelley.

As the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks passes and Coulter’s 1-year anniversary as owner of his ComForcare draws near, other franchisees stand to gain a lot from his story.

More than just trite bullet points to fill a stock “Value Statement” hidden in the dusty recesses of his company’s website, Coulter embodies the values he preaches as he helps the elderly and those otherwise incapable of taking care of themselves.

Not all franchises will serve the kind of special clients Coulter serves. Yet whether it’s a senior care service or a hamburger joint, turning adversity into positive motivation and staying true to core values are two habits that can benefit any franchisee.