A seemingly endless lackluster economic climate hasn’t soured growth prospects for East Coast Wings & Grill, which was just approved $7.5 million to provide start-up funding for franchisees entering the system and expansion funding for existing franchisees. Created by Franchise America Finance and The Bancorp Bank, a subsidiary of The Bancorp Inc., the lending program is the first of its kind.
The franchise’s CEO envisions that the infusion of capital will enable the opening of 12 to 15 stores annually for the next five years, dotting the Southeast with the franchise’s trademark buffalo wings. “The successful completion of a financing program in this difficult market is a testament to the strength of our business model and an important step in the company’s continued growth,” said Sam Ballas, CFE, CEO of East Coast Wings & Grill. By the end of this year, Ballas plans to expand 22-unit East Coast Wings & Grill beyond its home state, opening units in South Carolina and Texas.
The lender enthusiastically welcomed its first emerging chain. “We are very excited to add East Coast Wings & Grill to our lending program as our first ‘emerging’ brand,” said Ronald Feldman, CFE, CEO of Franchise America Finance. “The unit level economics and adoption of industry best practices by management helped us make our decision to offer franchisee financing.”
“Our national program offers the smoothest, most time-sensitive loan approval process available today,” said Nancy Broudo, vice president of franchisee lending of The Bancorp Bank. The Bancorp Bank has allocated more than $300 million for small-business franchisees and licensees since the program’s inception. “This access to capitalization will enable qualified franchisees to build their business, their industry and an employment base to create jobs.”
The franchise also recently completed its 35th consecutive quarter of same-store sales increases.
The economy can’t zap the zest of East Coast Wings & Grill’s growth trajectory.