Wanamaker and Franchising
We wanted to talk to Tim Wanamaker about the outcome of the International Franchise Association (IFA) conference at the Pearl Street Brewery on Tuesday. Wanamaker's assistant, Melanie Gregg, promised a call from him on Friday, so we waited.
When the call came in, we remarked on the background noise. Is that traffic? "Actually, I'm in Disney World," Wanamaker said. And then talk turned to the seminar.
"We did it because it's the mission of the BERC to help people open businesses. We've created a relationship with the IFA specific to minority development within the organization," Wanamaker said.
The seminar was designed to look at franchising from two perspectives. The first topic covered the question of how to go about owning a franchise from scratch such as a Domino Pizza, Mac Tools and so on. See a full list here. The second topic covered how to franchise an existing business.
Was Wanamaker satisfied with attendance? "We had 60 people from the Buffalo/Niagara region in attendance, compared to New York City, which had 250. Considering the difference in the size of the cities, the IFA was pleased and so am I," he said. In what he plans to make an annual event, Wanamaker said he didn't get to talk to all of the attendees, but of those he did speak with, he knows three or four will be taking the next steps toward franchising, and he was very pleased with the interest.
And then it was time to ask a few more questions about the Vegas trip. Again, Wanamaker identified two tasks that were the intention of the retail conference. "We wanted to get the word out about our canal side. That is where I think we'll have an opportunity to bring in more retail," he said.
So, what about stores like the Gap, Pottery Barn, and Williams Sonoma? That brought up the second task. "We want to attract commercial business to our older quarters—Main, Jefferson, Hertel, and Seneca," Wanamaker said. How successful those efforts were is yet to be seen.
We couldn't help but ask at the end of the call, "How's the line looking? You must be up front by now, huh?"
"No, still waiting."
"You know you're going to need another three-day vacation when you leave the Enchanted Kingdom, right?"
"That's about right," he laughed.