Prospective Monkee’s franchise owners need to have more than just the ability to pay a franchise fee or monthly building rent. When seeking new franchisees, the Winston- Salem, N.C.-based boutique franchisor looks for franchisees who possess a sense of fashion, a love of shopping and the kind of personality that will attract loyal customers to their shop.

“There are a lot of people who come to us who say they want to open a store and have the ability to do it financially, but that’s not the only thing we look for,” says co-CEO Dee Dee Shaw. “You can teach someone the business side of an organization or a store but you can’t teach personality or style.” 

Even with 43 convenience stores throughout East Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Southwest Virginia, plus 25 years of business, Lee’s Food Mart is still growing. Owned and operated by brothers Terry and Gary Lee, the company takes great pride in its services and offerings. Whether a neighborhood customer filling up on gas and grabbing a snack, a trucker needing diesel on a long journey or someone passing through on a road trip, Lee’s Food Mart has something for everyone.

The business markets gasoline, diesel, kerosene and racing fuel under well-known brands such as BP, Marathon, Exxon and Phillips 66. Inside the store, customers can purchase coffee products, fast foods and deli products made fresh daily, along with all the usual snacks, candy and beverages one would find in any convenience store. Lee’s Food Mart also offers a self-service car wash, Autec Evolution Touchless car wash and Friction combination car wash systems at many of its locations. 

Brick-and-mortar retailers spend most of their marketing dollars enticing customers to enter their stores. But what if people were lingering voluntarily around your store and did not want to leave? While this may sound like retailer heaven, it actually can be found in airports after travelers have passed through security.

When travelers have time on their hands – which is just about always – many are looking for something to do. Providing an interesting shopping experience with merchandise can give leisure travelers a means of enjoyment and business travelers tools for productivity. InMotion Entertainment Group LLC has been profiting from this unique platform and specialty retail concept for years.

 But it takes much more than just having the merchandise available to prosper in this industry. Highly visible locations, desirable brands and well-trained sales associates are all necessary. InMotion Entertainment Group combines its high regard for customer service with well-trained sales associates. 

After nearly seven decades, Howard’s TV & Appliance’s size and product mix have grown, but its philosophy has stayed the same. “We maintain an old-school approach,” President and CEO John Wilkerson asserts. “We want customers to know that we want them to be satisfied.”

La Habra, Calif.-based Howard’s operates 12 appliance and electronics stores in the greater Los Angeles area. Howard Roach founded the company in 1946, but started his career repairing televisions in the back room of a sporting goods store.

Eventually, Roach grew into TV sales when he opened a small store in San Gabriel, Calif. Over time, he acquired adjacent businesses and added appliances, personal audio, stereo and accessories to his product lines.

The iconic Hooters girl remains, as does the owl featured in the logo. A wide selection of tasty chicken wings are still on the menu, and the restaurant is still a great gathering place for friends watching a game or a family celebrating a special occasion. However, Hooters has made some significant changes since a renovation kicked off three years ago, and the results have been extremely positive.

Bob Brooks bought the franchise rights for Hooters in 1984 when it had only two locations and expanded it into a global chain before purchasing the entire company from the founders in 2001. Brooks died in 2006, leaving ownership of Hooters to his son, Coby Brooks, who served as president and CEO until 2011, when the restaurant chain was sold to a group of investors. 

eBags President and CEO Mike Edwards sees more in a handbag, backpack or piece of luggage than travel gear. Instead, he envisions a journey. It’s a journey that begins when a customer logs onto eBags.com to select the product and continues when she carries it during a much-anticipated trip or on daily adventures closer to home.

Edwards has only been at the helm of eBags since August, but the presentation he made to the company’s board of directors before he was hired summarized his vision for the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based company, which was founded in 1998 as an online luggage provider.

Even seemingly small improvements can have a huge impact on the look of a shop. When Missouri’s Break Time convenience stores began remodeling its older locations last year, the changes were mostly modest. The company installed new coffee equipment and expanded fountains for soft drinks, updated interior graphics and better utilized floor space to make it more open. Although the store structures were mostly untouched, the improvements had an immediate effect on customers. 

“It makes a definite impact when you walk in,” says Curtis Chaney, senior vice president of retail. “A lot of customers think we’ve actually made the store larger just because of the changes we’ve made.”

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