What do fries, rock music and BYOB art classes have in common? They are among the nation’s hottest franchises. So what are the chances one of them might end up in Traverse City?
It’s hard to say, but as franchises tend to follow population growth, it’s a pretty safe bet that franchisees will continue to find a sweet spot in TC.
Brad Novak hadn’t heard of School of Rock – one of the fastest-growing new franchises on the market, according to a recent CNN Money report – but he says it’s indicative of a void in music education.
Novak owns The Beat Lab on Cass Road in Traverse City, which offers private lessons on a range of instruments as well as audio production. This summer, he also offered three Rock N Roll camps for middle school-aged kids – specifically for the experience of playing with others and public performances.
“It makes sense,” says Novak of the music franchise, which brings a performance-based approach to lessons. “Private lessons are great but one of the big issues with one-on-one is they’re out of the real world environment.”
Without knowing the curriculum or vision of School of Rock, Novak says the fact that the concept has been franchised “speaks volumes about the void that’s out there.”
Joining School of Rock on the “hot” list is French Fry Heaven, Painting with a Twist (BYOB art classes), GameTruck (a video arcade on wheels) and Brain Balance, a center for treating children with behavioral challenges.
Kate Daggett owns the Traverse City franchise of another art business – Michigan-based KidzArt. Two years ago she introduced art classes accompanied by local wine with the intention of mixing in something local to her palette. Starting in October, the franchise is launching adult monthly-themed classes that are BYOB.
Was she surprised to see an art franchise, in particular one based on BYOB art parties, named as a leading young franchise? Not surprised necessarily, she says, but it does “bring more value” among the general public to what she’s doing on a whole with KidzArt.
Of the top 20 recently named by Forbes, Traverse City has more than half – including 7-Eleven, Liberty Tax Service, Supercuts, Anytime Fitness, McDonald’s and Jimmy John’s.
Josh Russell and his wife Deanna have found success with their TC Jimmy John’s franchise, which they opened in the Campus Plaza in 2010. So much success, in fact, they want to open – and have already been approved for – a second location, this time on the city’s west side. However, their most recent and third opportunity to secure a lease just fell through, Russell says.
The Russells have been looking for more than a year for a high visibility location off of U.S. 31 South near Munson, lots of parking, easy access in and out and a delivery range that meets its “Freaky Fast” guarantee.
Panera Bread, another “hot” franchise, will arrive in Traverse City next year with a location on US-31. That company’s prerequisites to open a Panera? A requirement to typically open a minimum of 15 bakery-cafes, a net worth of $7.5 million, and liquid assets of $3 million.