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IFA’s First Franchising Day in Sacramento a “Frantastic” Success

Grassroots effort to become an annual event in the Golden State.

More than 20 franchisees, franchisors and International Franchise Association staff convened March 5 in Sacramento, Calif. to educate lawmakers on the basics of the franchise industry and the positive economic impact that franchising has in the state. The activity was part of IFA’s ongoing California advocacy efforts.

“The IFA group had more than 30 meetings with elected officials, legislative staff and policymakers. We delivered a clear message, franchising equals jobs,” said IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE.

Several franchisees participated in the day’s events including Saunda Kitchen, CFE, a Mr. Rooter franchisee based in Sonoma who also serves as IFA’s Franchisee Forum’s chairwoman. “During my meetings with legislators and their staffs, I gave them a brief history of my franchised business in California,” said Kitchen. “I also stressed the necessity of educating lawmakers about the unintended consequences of over-reaching legislation and the importance of protecting the integrity of a franchise’s brand.”

Phyllis Hegstrom, Home Instead Senior Care’s director of government affairs shared her enthusiasm about the grassroots event, noting: “It was so great to see California-based Home Instead owners interacting with their representatives and advocating for in-home care for seniors. Franchisees are the best ambassadors for the franchise industry.”

The crowning event of “Franchising Day” was an IFA fundraiser for Toni Atkins, the California Assembly Majority Leader, who is the second highest-ranking member of the assembly and a strong advocate for military veterans.

During the fundraiser, IFA showcased its VetFran program. Nearly 65,000 veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors have started careers in franchising, including 4,314 new veteran-franchise business owners. That progress has been achieved since 2011 through Operation Enduring Opportunity, a campaign of IFA’s VetFran Strategic Initiative. A record number 550 IFA members are now participating in VetFran by offering incentives to make franchise ownership more accessible and recruiting veteran employees.

IFA looks to ensure that any legislation in California does not have unintended consequences that would impede the growth of the franchise industry, one of the few industries that is experiencing growth above the overall projected rate of the U.S. economy.
Due to the importance of California, IFA plans to keep up the momentum and make “Franchising Day” an annual event in the state.

Dean Heyl is senior director, state government relations, public policy & tax counsel for the International Franchise Association. He can be reached at 202-662-0792 or at


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