Momentum continues to build

Sonia Perrone, MFV Expositions’ Marketing Director, discusses the success of this year’s International Franchise Expo in New York City and how she expects this to be emulated at October’s West Coast Franchise Expo.

More than 19,000 attendees from throughout the United States and over 90 countries attended the 2014 International Franchise Expo (IFE) in New York City. With over 400 exhibitors, the IFE was the biggest in the event’s 23-year history. For the third year in a row at the Javits Center, prospective franchise owners and entrepreneurs met face-to-face with representatives from well-established name-brand franchises and emerging, fast-growing concepts, learning about franchise brands and expansion opportunities, domestically and internationally.

Throughout the weekend, expo-goers delved into an event designed to energise their entrepreneurial spirit. Exhibitors featured on the convention floor included a growing number of service franchises ranging from pet care and home improvement, to cleaning and travel services, and new innovative restaurant and hospitality concepts.

“As a first-time [IFE] exhibitor, we weren’t sure what to expect,” said Garry Tynan, president and CEO of Curb-Ease, based in Canada. “We were thoroughly impressed, not only with the sheer volume of foot traffic, but by the variety and quality of prospects we were able to speak with. People from all over the world had a genuine interest in our concept. The IFE was the perfect high-impact international platform to exhibit our franchise opportunity.”

Topics covered in 70 free seminars and 10 in-depth symposia spanned every aspect of franchising, from the basics to ways to obtain financing. The industries pre-eminent leaders gathered to share their valuable insight and generate thought-provoking ideas and strategies for both prospective business owners and experienced franchise owners. The IFE offered an ideal environment for thousands of eager prospects to get in at the ground level with highly reputable franchise concepts. Whether single-unit, area developers or multi-unit buyers, expo visitors were well-educated, engaged and serious about taking the next step in the franchise industry.

“This year’s expo was a rousing success,” said Tom Portesy, President of MFV Expositions. “We welcomed attendees ranging from recent college grads to retirees looking to get back in the business world. With a wide variety of exhibitors, the expo truly covered all ends of the spectrum, from out-of-thebox, niche franchises to well-known global brands.”

As more franchisors endeavor to expand their reach into the deeply competitive industry, fresh new trends emerged at the expo. Nearly 40 of this year’s exhibitors specialised in either children’s or education products and services. Although restaurants ccount for slightly more than half of all franchise jobs, over 20 fitness franchisors and more than a dozen health and senior care franchisors exhibited.

“The IFE was a huge success for us this year,” said Marcos Moura, Chief Development Officer of Amada Senior Care. “Our team was busy the entire weekend conversing with eager prospects interested in our brand. We typically award an average of 2.5 franchises per MFV expo, but the IFE might very well blow that number out of the water!”

The International Franchise Association (IFA) reports that, in 2014, the franchise industry, a major contributor to the U.S. economy, is expected to create approximately 200,000 new jobs. In 2014, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the franchise sector is projected to increase to $493 billion.

Riding the wave of success from the International Franchise Expo is the 11th annual 2014 West Coast Franchise Expo (WCFE) hosted from October 23-25 at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA. The West Coast continues to prove to be an ideal market for franchise growth with 39,060 total franchisee units and 569 total franchisors headquartered in California alone.

With more than 200 exhibitors, 40 free seminars and five symposia, the WCFE, sponsored by the International Franchise Association and produced by MFV Expositions, welcomes hundreds of franchisors, thousands of prospects, and small business owners, and allows potential franchise owners the opportunity to get that much closer to realising their dream of expanding out west.