Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Quick to React to Arizona First Responders




As the wildfires in Yarnell Arizona continue to burn out of control, making it the deadliest wild land fire since 1933, 200 more firefighters arrived this week to help battle the blaze which was ignited by lightening.  Monday, the wind-driven wildfire claimed the lives of 19 elite firefighters of the Prescott Fire Department’s Granite Mountain Hotshots, making it the deadliest day for firefighters since the 9/11 attacks.  As makeshift memorials of flowers and American flags formed around the small mountain town, companies and near-by communities along with the American Red Cross wasted no time in answering the call to help those affected most.

IFA member Firehouse Subs through their Public Safety Foundation has already hit the ground from their Arizona restaurants, feeding first responders, volunteers and evacuees with their subs.  The Foundation will give 200 subs per day for the next week to the American Red Cross for distribution, while also providing fire, police and EMS departments the opportunity to request life-saving equipment, replacing any equipment lost in the fires. IFA, which has donated to the Foundation’s efforts, encourages all companies to reach out in any way possible to help those victims who continue to be affected by the fires.

“We will remember the 19 firefighters always as heroes, for protecting the lives of the citizens in their state,” said IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira.  “The IFA is committed to helping and assisting in any way possible those who are on the ground aiding in the recovery operations in Arizona.”

The American Red Cross Grand Canyon is currently accepting monetary donations to help provide food, water and beds at two shelters at Yavapai College and Wickenburg High School.  The shelters are providing places to stay for those evacuated from their homes in the wake of the fire.

The IFA is keeping those impacted and families of the victims in our thoughts and prayers as firefighters continue to fight to control the deadly blaze. For more information of Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, please click here.  Please visit America Red Cross Disaster Relief to help and get involved.

This July 4th, IFA recognizes veterans who have started careers in the franchise industry



On Nov. 10, 2011, IFA announced “Operation Enduring Opportunity,” a franchise industry-wide campaign to hire and recruit as owners 80,000 veterans and military spouses through 2014.  Since 2011, nearly 65,000 veterans have entered franchising, including 4,314 owners.  On April 30, the White House Joining Forces initiative announced that 290,000 veterans and military spouses have been hired or trained since the launch of the initiative in 2011.   Franchising contributed almost a quarter of this total.

This effort builds on IFA’s long-standing VetFran strategic initiative, founded in 1991.  VetFran now includes a record 580-plus IFA member-franchise companies offering financial incentives, training and mentoring to veterans interested in small-business ownership and/or a career path in franchising.  In association with July 4, IFA & VetFran proudly highlight a few of the veterans to enter franchising in the past year.

Araya clean

Tom Martin:    

Tom Martin served honorably as a U.S. Marine in the presidential honor guard for President George H.W. Bush. One of his highlights in the honor guard was serving at the White House during a visit by Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev. After the Marine Corps, he went to college and worked at a boys’ home. Later, he transitioned to IT work at the Creative Artists Agency where he met Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Martin eventually burned out on Corporate America and decided to start his own business. He worked with FranChoice to find a good match, and eventually found Araya Clean, the nation’s fastest growing mobile pressure washing franchise. Like many veterans, Martin chose Araya Clean because of its proven business model, dedication to protecting the environment and veteran financing program.

bach to rock

Dave Leonard and Ellen Good

bach to rock zee

Husband-and-wife team Dave Leonard and Ellen Good have signed a franchise agreement to open the first Pennsylvania location for Bach to Rock, America’s music school for students of all ages. The school is scheduled to open during the summer of 2013 in Philadelphia’s Main Line corridor (Wayne, Pa.) and will teach a wide variety of instruments and music, from 60s rock to Taylor Swift. Bach to Rock offers professional recording studios for both children and adults to use, as well as jam sessions. Leonard and his wife decided to combine their love of music and education to open their first Bach to Rock. He is a U.S. Army veteran and taking advantage of the brand’s veteran incentives program.

BS care

AJ Cosmo

BS care zee

AJ Cosmo served in Iraq the U.S. Marine Corps from 2001-2005 and was on the front lines during the invasion of Iraq. After being discharged from the Marines, Cosmo transitioned into life insurance and then to the postal service. During this time, he went to college full time and eventually earned his degree. After the postal service, Cosmo stayed in South Carolina for two years before moving back to Georgia. He then decided to go into franchising because he desired the opportunity to run his own business, while mitigating risks by following a proven system with a successful track record.  Cosmo had always been very close to his grandparents and his grandmother eventually had to move into ecumenical housing. There, his grandmother fell while unattended and passed away. Realizing that homecare could have helped her, Cosmo decided to open his own BrightStar Care with his father to help prevent this tragic incident from happening to other families.


Allan Larson

Allan Larson (39 years old) joined the military when he was just 18 years old and spent 20 years in the service. Initially a combat engineer, Larson joined the U.S. Army Special Forces where he spent the majority of his career (15 years). Though stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Larson did three tours in Iraq, one in Afghanistan and numerous other tours around the world. Nearing the end of his military career, he began researching his options within the franchising world. A firm believer in the benefits of massage – Larson incorporated massage into his regular routine after shoulder surgeries.  With a desire to help others, he knew Elements was the right fit.  He opened his studio in May 2013 in Brentwood, Tenn. just outside of Nashville.

FS internaitonal

Doug Graham

Doug-FS Doug Graham served in the Air Force and the International Guard for 36 years and retired in October 2012. Once he returned, he tested the job market and realized that his specific skill sets from the military were not what most companies were looking for. With this in mind, Graham began looking into franchising and eventually stumbled across FASTSIGNS.  FASTSIGNS offered the proper amount of training and remained in contact with him throughout the startup process, which he greatly appreciated. Graham’s store is scheduled to officially open in just a few weeks.

Eric Schnitzer

Erica fsEric Schnitzer went into the Air Force in Colorado Springs in 1983 where he was commissioned as lieutenant. There, Schnitzer did pilot training, flying several different kinds of planes. He served in Dessert Storm, in Bosnia and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He retired in October 2012 and decided that he wanted to start a business in which he could be his own boss. Leaning toward franchising because it’s the best way to get the support needed, Schnitzer started seriously considering FASTSIGNS due to his engineering/technology background. During his time in the military, Schnitzer learned leadership and management skills, how to put a team together and how to set objectives to ensure everyone works toward a common goal and he feels that FASTSIGNS provided him with the opportunity to strive in the areas he knows best. His store is scheduled to open in a few weeks.

honest 1

Steve Grimes

In 2007, after returning from a year-long tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 41st Brigade Combat Team of the Oregon Army National Guard, Steve Grimes was trying to decide what to do with the next chapter of his life.  Grimes found Honest-1, a young brand he felt he could grow with and opened his first location in Portland that September.  Six years later and he has been able to open four Honest-1 shops in Oregon and he will be opening his fifth Honest-1 location in Aloha, Ore., on July 5.  As a part of the grand opening, the first 50 customers will get biodegradable plant feed packets, five of which will win the customer free oil changes for a year.  He also has plans to open a sixth location in the next six months to a year.

protect painters

Paul “Buddy” Rhoades

tect painters zeeWhen Paul “Buddy” Rhoades returned from a 12-month tour in Afghanistan last year, he thought his leadership skills would put him near the top of any private employer’s candidate list. After unsuccessfully applying to hundreds of positions, however, Rhoades decided to take matters into his own hands. Eleven months ago, he became a small-business franchise owner when he opened ProTect Painters, a professional painting franchise that combines his home improvement passion with a proven business model. As the owner, Rhoades manages painting crews on both residential and commercial projects. Since opening, he has completed 59 painting jobs and is well on his way to establishing financial freedom.


Mike Lambert

valpak zeeMike Lambert began his career with the United States military, spending six years in the Marine Corps. After he left the Marines as a sergeant, Lambert became a government contractor supporting the U.S. intelligence community, where he has been for the past 16 years. Eager to start his own business, Lambert learned of Valpak through a fellow Marine, Mike Lozier, franchise owner of Valpak of Garden State East in Northern New Jersey, who has had great success with the franchise. Lambert was also able to take advantage of Valpak’s veterans incentive program, initiated last year. Valpak will waive startup fees for qualified, honorably discharged veterans. The savings amount can be up to $32,500.


IFA Member and The UPS Store Franchisee Offers Small Business Policy Recommendations on Trade in House Testimony




On June 26, the House Committee on Small Business heard testimony regarding the challenges that small businesses face when attempting to conduct business across borders. Some of these barriers include restrictive trade agreements, customs regulations and non-tariff related expenses. All of which can add up to a significant hindrance for price-sensitive small businesses eager to expand their market.

Mariana Huberman, a Washington, D.C.-based UPS Store franchisee and second vice chairwoman of IFA’s Franchisee Forum, was among those to testify.   Huberman gave committee members real-world insight into some of the challenges she faces as an international shipping provider. Her presence on the panel demonstrated the committee’s specific concerns that complex trade barriers can have on franchise small-business owners reliant on conducting business abroad. “The impact is small businesses will choose not to ship internationally,” said Huberman.

While discussing challenges she faces, Huberman recognized advantages she has as a UPS Store franchisee.   The UPS Store offers its franchisees customs-brokerage services in more than 60 countries and 80 years of experience, benefits non-franchise businesses may not enjoy.

The hearing, titled, Ready to Export: Small Business Policy Recommendations for the U.S. Trade Representative, was led by Sam Graves the chairman of the House Committee on Small Business.  Chairman Graves made clear his hopes:  “to hear from small businesses about the administration’s trade policy agenda, and specifically how to help increase U.S. exports and create new good paying U.S. jobs,” as well as “developing an aggressive trade strategy to open new markets for U.S. exporters.”

Both of those goals will have significant, positive impact for franchisees such as Huberman. Discussing her impressions of the hearing, she expressed her interest in “increasing revenue through leveling the playing field” saying “at the end of the day, it’s about fairness.”

U.S.– Australia Study Tour of Franchise Executives




John Reynolds, CFE, President, IFA Educational Foundation, Mark Brennan, Australian Small Business Commissioner, Scott Lehr, CFE, Vice President of Membership and International Development, and Michael Schwager, Minister-Counselor, Embassy of Australia, meet at IFA offices to discuss franchising in the U.S. and Australia and the plans for the U.S.-Australia Study Tour.   An IFA delegation, led by President & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE, and IFA Chairman Steve Romaniello, CFE, will lead a delegation of U.S. franchise executives to Brisbane next October to participate in the FCA’s Annual Conference, including meetings in Melbourne and Sydney with their Australian counterparts.


The FCA Annual Conference will mark the official launch of the Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) program in Australia.  The launch is the result of cooperative efforts between the Franchise Council of Australia and the Franchise Academy, and the IFA Educational Foundation and the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives.    The Study Tour exchange of franchise executives grew out of these collaborative efforts.  Participants in the Study Tour exchange will receive 500 CFE credits.

The FCA Annual Conference and Study Tour is October 21-26.  For more information about the Study Tour please contact John Reynolds, CFE, by email –, or phone – (202) 662-0764.


CKE Restaurants’ Puzder advocates for immigration reform in Washington




As the immigration debate continues on Capitol Hill and across the country, ImmigrationWorks, a national organization advancing immigration reform that works for all Americans, held an event in Washington D.C. today at the American Enterprise Institute to help lawmakers and voters understand the most important elements for creating a better legal system for the future.

Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, provided insights on how the immigration reform bill would affect American businesses and the consequences of not addressing key issues in the debate.  With 3,300 restaurants throughout 48 states and approximately 70,000 workers employed by Carl’s Jr. and Hardees Restaurants, Puzder believes a bill like the one before Congress would spur economic growth and advance consumption.

“A rational, enforceable and practical immigration policy is something that would reinforce the idea that the U.S. is the land of opportunity,” said Puzder.

What American businesses like Puzder’s really need is the comfort that a person his restaurants have hired is here legally and that the system for legalization is easier for those involved to understand.

“E-verify has been very helpful for businesses who really want to comply with the law,” explained Puzder.  “If we had reform and were able to hire people without concern, we would have a better and more diverse workforce in this country.”

According to Puzder, the most important thing is economic growth and businesses have been fighting to survive since 2008.  “A bill like the one before Congress could really be a benefit to the U.S. economy and it would be nice to participate in an economy that was constantly growing,” he said.



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