If you had any doubts about franchising’s power to grow a brand, consider this: Two huge names in American business have turned to franchising to expand their footprints.
Last week, the Business Courier of Cincinnati reported that Procter & Gamble is looking to expand its Tide Dry Cleaners franchise. In January, P&G began pushing to expand its Mr. Clean Car Wash franchises.
Both Tide Dry Cleaners and Mr. Clean Car Wash have been operating as franchises since 2007, but until recently, they were primarily limited to test locations. P&G’s subsidiary Agile Pursuits Franchising Inc. said Tide franchises are available in Ohio and Kentucky; the company plans to open a company-owned store in Cincinnati. Mr. Clean is seeking franchises in Ohio and Texas.
Earlier this month, Sears Holdings Corp. announced it was offering its Sears Auto Centers as a franchise opportunity under the Independent Sears Auto Center franchise program. The first franchise was purchased by Coleman Auto Group in East Windsor, N.J., and will open this month in a space that used to be Coleman’s Chrysler dealership.
Sears is making a smart move. Some 3,000 auto dealerships have lost their franchise in the recession; Sears created its program to help these dealers start new businesses using their existing facilities. “The Sears Auto franchise is a win for customers and a win for dealers,” says Bill Jackson, Senior Vice President of Sears Holdings Corp. and President of Sears Authorized Independent Auto Centers LLC. The franchise locations will provide all the same products and services that are sold at the nearly 850 company-owned Sears Auto Centers.
Independent car washes and dry cleaners are struggling in this economy, too. As independents go out of business, their locations may be open for prospective franchisees to take over. It’s unclear at this point if converting independents to franchises will be part of P&G’s franchise strategy. Instead, the company seems to be focusing on taking advantage of its brand awareness.
“Franchising enables us to leverage the equity in our brands to reach more consumers, more completely,” says company spokeswoman Mary Ralles. “This business model allows us to stay focused on our core capabilities of building leading, trusted brands while creating an attractive franchising business model that is positive for both P&G and entrepreneurs.”
Rieva Lesonsky is founder and president of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva on Twitter.com/Rieva. Visit SmallBizDaily.com to read more of Rieva’s insights on small business and to buy her newest book, Marketing 101: Quick Tips for Marketing Your Business.