Waitsfield, VT (PressExposure) November 15, 2009 -- You'd think the worst economic times since the Great Depression would discourage budding entrepreneurs from going into business on their own. Yet with corporate layoffs, record unemployment rates, shrinking nest eggs and a number of other variables, many entrepreneurs are seeking franchises as a safer track to owning their own business--and that's attracting franchise owners from a variety of backgrounds.
"It used to be your franchise owners drew more investor-types--celebrities, pro athletes and others with deep pockets looking for a turnkey operation," said Peter Hans, CEO of Resort Maps Franchise, Inc., a franchisor and creator of more than 90 customized travel maps across the United States, England and Puerto Rico. "The economy has turned a number of franchise owners our way, either as an appealing option to corporate life and a shrinking job market or as a lifestyle option."
Some of the areas attracting new franchise owners include:
â¢ Corporate casualties and refugees â¢ Retirees â¢ Working mothers â¢ Veterans â¢ Students
Gerry Pelissier, a Resort Maps franchise owner creating a new map in Dennis-Harwich, Massachusetts and with an existing map in Chatham-Orleans, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, represents one of the new faces. A former executive in the corporate world, Pelissier found owning a franchise; Resort Maps in particular, to be an appealing option. "Back when I was 28 years old, I had the drive and the entrepreneurship in my blood,'' said Pelissier, who was the founder of a double drive-thru gourmet coffee business that he successfully franchised and then sold to Chock full o'Nuts. "I just turned 50 this year and I said to myself, 'Let's not create a new wheel.' There's a lot less risk in purchasing an existing franchise."
David and Mary Kay McLane, owners of Resort Maps' Charleston, South Carolina franchise, represent another of the new faces: retirees.
From central Pennsylvania, David and Mary Kay purchased a second home in Charleston in 2006. Since that time, both David, a clinical psychologist, and Mary Kay, healthcare and retail sales, retired from their respective careers. Yet early on the two realized they were not quite ready for full-time retirement.
"Resort Maps is a great business opportunity for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it's a great product that provides a great vehicle for advertisers to showcase their businesses while offering invaluable service to people visiting Charleston," said David McLane. "The other main appeal of the Resort Maps business opportunity is that it fits our lifestyle and gives us a chance to meet and know more people in the Charleston community."
Resort Maps began creating and publishing maps in the northeastern U.S. back in 1986. In an effort to continue the company's growth and simultaneously maintain the quality of the product, Resort Maps became a franchisor in 1993. Since adopting the franchise model, Resort Maps has grown steadily to more than 90 maps distributed across 20 states as well as towns and cities in England and Puerto Rico.
Adds Hans, "We're probably a little different than most franchise opportunities. It's the charge of our franchise owners to find advertisers for the map in their territory. The time frame for which the franchise owner finds those advertisers is totally up to them. So they're not stuck in the 9-to-5, Monday through Friday, 12 months a year grind. An opportunity like that fits into the lifestyle of many of the new faces: retirees, couples, recent graduates or even current college students."