Western states in 2016 led the way for growth, and Arizona was right near the top with 6.3% promotional product revenue growth – tied for third among all U.S. states. It’s a far cry from a decade ago when the state was one of the worst hit by the Great Recession; now, Arizona is forecast by Forbes to be among the best states in America for job and economic growth over the next five years. Plus, Tucson and Phoenix are among Forbes Top 10 U.S. cities with the fastest employment growth at 3.3% and 3.1%, respectively.
One of Arizona’s strengths is its many franchises. Franchiseopportunities.com highlights Arizona’s low taxes and small state government as a draw for franchise owners, and it cites Closet Factory, Wienerschnitzel, Kitchen Tune-Up, Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza and Fire Master among the most popular franchise opportunities in the state.
Based in Phoenix, IdentiBrands specializes in franchise chains. “My model is working on the fulfillment side,” says IdentiBrands owner Greg Marks. For example, an Arizona-based restaurant chain with big-footprint buildings and large staffs was expanding in the West, but experiencing growing pains when it came to managing inventory for its uniform program. Prior to working with Marks, the chain’s local managers were responsible for inventory and overwhelmed by the task, resulting in loss. The solution: Marks created an online ordering site at which each employee creates his/her own account and orders their own shirt. From Proforma’s warehouse, the shirt is picked, wrapped individually for each employee and shipped on Wednesdays to the employee, with the cost of freight built into the cost of the shirt. Despite the slightly higher price tag, the solution was worthwhile.
Marks sees opportunities for selling fulfillment programs to franchises across the West. “The recession hit states like Arizona and Nevada hard,” he says, “but now as the economy is improving, everybody is back to growing and franchises are super aggressively adding locations. I see it in California too.” The common denominator for all these businesses is consistency with how their brand image is managed – a challenge when growth happens quickly. However, it’s also an opportunity for distributors to provide a solution that streamlines the process and ensures the sanctity of the brand, regardless of which state the new franchisee is located in.
Tonia Kimbrough is a contributing writer for Advantages