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Third Annual California Franchising Day Promotes the Industry’s Power

Elected officials must continue to hear from franchise small-business owners about the challenges they face.

 By Riley Titus

On March 11, the International Franchise Association brought together more than 20 members for its third annual California Franchising Day at the state capitol in Sacramento. The delegation of franchisees and franchisors represented a wide array of brands and industries which helped promote the franchise industry’s contributions to the Golden State’s economy, its job creation and role in helping California rebound from the recent recession.Among the brands represented were Domino’s, FASTSIGNS International, Glass Doctor, Home Instead Senior Care, KFC, Mr. Rooter, Plumbing Doctor, The UPS Store and more, in addition to IFA staff and partner organizations.

Influence and Education

Saunda Kitchen, CFE, owner of Mr. Rooter Sonoma County, noted the importance of engaging in IFA’s advocacy efforts. “This year’s Franchising Day was the best yet,” said Kitchen.  “Not only did we influence and educate our state’s lawmakers about the franchise business model, we walked away with a relationship with our lawmakers that will hopefully continue into the future. Our elected officials need to continue hearing from us about the challenges we face as small-business owners in California.”Attendees gathered in the morning to prepare for the day’s activities and strategize ways in which to speak with their officials that would truly resonate with them. Later, the delegation broke into smaller groups to embark on more than 30 legislative meetings with individual legislators and staff throughout the afternoon. The meetings were a great success.Mark Borchin, owner of Glass Doctor of Gold County, said: “It was clear to me that our legislators were interested in learning how franchising is really geared for the small-business owner versus the large corporation.  Having the opportunity to educate them on the business model and economic impact was a huge step in having them understand how vital we are to the fabric of California. The impact we made was very apparent. It was a great day, and I was happy to have been involved.”“Without the face-to-face legislative interaction with the IFA and its members, many legislators and their staffs would not have exposure to franchising and have a limited understanding of this small-business employment engine,” said Dan Conger, chief financial officer of Financial Services, Inc., franchisor of Mission Viejo-based Sir Speedy and TeamLogicIT.

 Economic Empowerment

In conjunction with the event, an opinion article by Kitchen appeared in Fox & Hounds, a prominent daily political news service in Sacramento. The article, titled “Franchise Business Model Provides Opportunity for California Women, Minorities & Other Aspiring Small Business Owners,” highlighted the franchise model’s positive impact on groups traditionally under-represented among small-business owners. Franchising serves not only as a vehicle for the economic empowerment of these groups, but also their communities.Finally, driving the message home was IFA Pres. and CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE:   “Franchising plays a critically important economic role in California and it is very important that California lawmakers understand that. To help ensure the continued growth of job-creating franchise businesses, lawmakers should focus on pro-growth policies instead of efforts that would undermine the highly-successful, time-tested and proven franchise business model.”IFA plans to continue its outreach and engagement in California, inviting legislators to future in-district site visits and meetings. n

Riley Titus is coordinator, government relations and public policy of the International Franchise Association.  Find him at


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