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International Franchise Expo Hosts Biggest Event in Years

2013 show proves franchising remains a hot investment.

They came to learn about franchise brands and expansion opportunities from throughout the United States and the world – thousands of visitors from more than 90 countries along with 400-plus exhibitors.

What was their destination? The International Franchise Expo, June 20-22 conducted at the Javits Center in New York City and they made it the biggest turnout in the 22-year history of the event. Highly qualified candidates rubbed elbows with C-level executives representing world-renowned franchise brands to emerging franchises seen for the very first time.

An agreement between MFV Expositions with the New York State Attorney’s office allowed franchise brands unregistered in the state to exhibit and share their concept with attendees. Showcasing their products and services to serious investors in New York for possibly the first time was a rare and special opportunity.

Franchise Businesses Creating Jobs

June 20 kicked off with a breakfast to announce the findings of the ADP National Franchise Report which found that private-sector franchise jobs increased by 19,160 during May with restaurants, business services and food retailers showing the largest increases. Approximately 150,000 jobs were added over the past 12 months by the franchise industry.

Franchises are an essential driver of the U.S. economy, so the report, the first and only of its kind, was created to identify rich insight and trends into the industry’s impact on the labor market. Collaborating with Moody’s Analytics, one of the most trusted names in economic forecasting of national and regional U.S. employment, the ongoing reports will become a valuable tool for investors to develop work force strategies and for the public to inform their human capital management strategies.

IFA Chairman Steve Romaniello, CFE, managing director of Roark Capital Group, provided opening remarks to a large crowd of eager attendees. The robust attendance on June 20 indicated that changing the dates of the show to a Thursday-Saturday schedule was the correct decision. Another correct decision was releasing the ADP National Franchise Report that reinforces IFA research findings on the franchising’s economic impact.

“According to the International Franchise Association’s 2013 economic outlook, franchising is projected to add more than 10,000 new franchise establishments, and more than 150,000 new jobs this year,” said Romaniello.

Education, Expansion and Diversity

North American franchise concepts expanding internationally, as well as international brands looking to penetrate the U.S. market were hot topics on the show floor. Health care and immigration were hot topics discussed in symposia and roundtable discussions.

Nine symposia and more than 70 free seminars were conducted to educate attendees on virtually every topic about the franchise industry. The three-day event included some of the industry’s preeminent leaders who shared their valuable experience on topics such as international expansion, private equity and multi-unit operation to foster and build best practices.

MFV Expositions, the trade show’s producers, report an increase in the expo’s diversity. Visitors from the New York region, as well as countries such as Zambia, India, Korea, Israel and regions like the Middle East, North Africa and the European Union gave the expo an international flair, proving that franchising is becoming a dominant force around the world.

Attention from media organizations was also high, giving exhibitors opportunities to get their brands in front of consumers and investors beyond the exhibit floor. “FOX & Friends,” CNNMoney, TheStreet.com, The Wall Street Journal, Telemundo, The New York Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, WPIX-TV, Black Enterprise magazine, the Associated Press and “CBS Evening News” were just some of the news organizations interested in exhibitors.

“We set up a virtual expo on the plaza of “FOX & Friends” to promote the show and highlight some exhibitors,” said Tom Portesy, president and CEO of MFV Expositions. “These media placements build excitement and awareness of the franchise industry as a whole. The IFE is the perfect time to talk about the economic impact our exhibitors have on communities around the world.”

More than 50 industries were represented including restaurant, health care, home improvement, retail, fitness, pet care and education franchises. Many vendors to franchisors were on hand to share their products and services including marketing materials, vehicles, clothing, printing and design. International exhibitors from Japan, Brazil, Korea, Mexico and the United Kingdom were actively seeking partnerships and franchisees for U.S. expansion.

More than 30 percent of attendees planned to invest between $100,000 and $500,000. Whether single unit, area developer, or multi-unit buyers, the expo visitors were well educated, engaged and serious about taking the next step.

“IFE is a fantastic event. The expo pulls from all over the northeast and all over the world”, said Charles Willis, president of Pinot’s Pallet. “We spoke to people from Philadelphia to Maine and from all different countries. What better place to have a show like IFE than in New York City?” Willis went on to thank show organizer MFV Expositions for delivering a great event with “tons of people walking the show floor.”

New York City was the backdrop for longtime business associates and new contacts to meet after the expo for happy hours, dinners, sporting and entertainment events. Some notable events included the International Delegate Hudson River Cruise on World Yacht and MFV’s exhibitor party at Clyde Frazier’s sponsored by leading industry suppliers on Friday evening.

The next IFE will be conducted June 19-21, 2014 at the Javits Center. For more information, visit http://www.ifeinfo.com.

Joel Goldstein is the group marketing director at MFV Expositions, the producer of leading franchise events worldwide. For more information on MFV Expositions franchise expo shows, visit mfvexpo.com. To exhibit, call Melissa Van Duren at 201-881-1666 or e-mail exhibit@mfvexpo.com. Find Goldstein at fransocial.franchise.org via the directory.

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