Take a drive through any neighborhood in Denver - or anywhere in the United States, for that matter - and it's easy to see the scars the recession has left behind. Empty storefronts dot the landscape, serving as stark reminders of the damages wrought by the economic downturn.
One organization is hoping to turn this trend around by indentifying those vacant storefronts as the perfect location for new business formation.
Kimco Realty, the nation's largest operator of neighborhood shopping centers, is joining with franchise chains to streamline the process for opening new branches. At the outset, Kimco works with the franchise chains to have certain storefronts pre-approved as store locations. Locations under 5,000 square feet are eligible for participation.
Then, Kimco markets the location to investors, telling would-be franchisees that the location is on a "fast track" to being ready for business.
The thought behind the program is relatively straightforward: Kimco thinks many people want to open their own businesses, but are daunted by the process. Seeing a sign in the window during a regular shopping trip might plant the idea in their minds and make opening a franchise seem like an accessible business venture.
Although the program is still in its infancy, the results have been promising. So far, 18 chains have agreed to participate in the program, including Bruegger's Bagels, Pearle Vision, School of Rock, The UPS Store and Hand & Stone Spa. The program is currently being piloted in the Northeast; Kimco plans to take it nationwide if it proves successful.
Franchising can be a great way to start a business. However, success is not guaranteed, and investors should never rush into purchasing a franchise.
If you are considering starting a business, talk to a Denver business attorney who can help you make sure you are on the right track.
Source: Entrepreneur, "Your Franchise Could Be Here," Dina Wisenberg Brin, Feb. 27, 2012.