Year of growth

Ableworld's retail mobility franchise has seen an impressive rate of growth in the last 12 months increasing the number of retail outlets to 24, completing its first franchise resale, and being nominated as a finalist for the British Franchise Association’s Emerging Franchise of the Year Award.

Autumn 2014 saw the opening of Ableworld’s Cardiff which was the company’s 24th store and 11th Franchise. The store is run by husband-and-wife team James and Leanne Studdart.

James has a background in manufacturing and sales having started his working career with a company who make some of the mobility products he now sells. Leanne has a wealth of experience in serving the local community and said “I’ve always enjoyed working on a one-to-one basis with people. I hope to be able to help our customers in Cardiff live more active and comfortable lives through the excellent products and services we offer”.

Cardiff was preceded by new stores in Broxburn in Scotland, Gloucester and Southampton. Southampton was opened in the summer by ex-milkman-of-the-year, Jeff Newman and two business partners. They identified a good location for their store and broke the company’s all-time sales record for the opening four weeks.

In addition to new franchise stores Ableworld also entered into a joint venture with entrepreneur Barry Pearson to develop up to a dozen Ableworld stores across the country over the next few years. Another milestone for Ableworld this autumn was the completion of their first franchise resale.

The owners wanted to move back to their home country of Australia. Ableworld introduced a potential purchaser for the franchise in Newark-on-Trent. Donna Wilson, the new franchise owner, has obtained an on-going successful business which she intends to make even more successful.

Paul Boniface, Franchise Director, sees this as a positive step “It was important for us to help the original franchisees exit their franchise to achieve their goal of moving back to Australia and for us it completes the franchisee circle of buy-grow-sell.

The success of Ableworld’s franchise operation means that it is well on the way to meeting its target of 60-70 stores in five years’ time and was one of the reasons why they were nominated by the British Franchise Association for this year’s Emerging Franchise of the Year Award. The market for mobility equipment shows no sign of slowing down as the population ages and Ableworld are looking to recruit 6-8 new franchise owner in 2015.