Anytime Fitness has announced its intention to expand in the Rochester and Buffalo areas, boosting its numbers locally to as many as 13 gyms in three years.
Currently, the 24-7 gym has three locations in Greater Rochester, including one downtown, one in Canandaigua and one in Macedon, Wayne County. It also has two in the Buffalo area, where it plans to expand to 15.
The gyms feature equipment and offerings similar to other gyms, but in a more intimate setting, usually occupying 4,500 to 6,000 square feet. Members have key fobs that allow them to enter the gym at any time, though there are group workouts and classes at specific times, too. The same key fob allows members to enter any of the 4,000 other Anytime Fitness locations around the United States.
The gyms might be considered no-frills in some ways. While there are no locker rooms, there are individual bathrooms with individual showers attached. The gym can be unstaffed at times, said Director of Franchise Development Tom Gilles, so it can’t have areas where people congregate that can’t be seen on security cameras.
“Two things are not part of our model because they’re money losers: child care and smoothie bars,” Gilles added. Pre-made and machine-vended snacks are available, he said, and add-ins, such as protein powder, are available on an honor basis.
Anytime Fitness gyms are small enough – Gilles said each one can operate with fewer than 1,000 members – that people connect to each other and encourage each other to continue working out through “good old-fashioned peer pressure.”
Gilles said, “We all need kind of a loving hand, a nudge, or a kick in the pants. We feel with the size and shape of our gym and connectiveness, we can keep people on their fitness journeys.”
Anytime Fitness centers start with two full-time employees, a manager and a personal trainer. They tend to operate like the corner gym, Gilles said, popping up in neighborhoods and strip malls.
More information on the gyms, and in obtaining franchises, is available on the company’s website.
Batteries Plus Bulbs, the Wisconsin-based company that has had just one store in the Rochester area for nearly nine years, is planning a big franchise push in New York.
Rod Tremelling, franchise director for the company, said Batteries Plus Bulbs hopes to have 55 more stores in New York, adding to the five already existing. In the Rochester area, Batteries Plus Bulbs is targeting the Fishers section of Victor, Greece, and Irondequoit. The only outlet in the Rochester area now is located at 1100 Jefferson Avenue in Henrietta.
The company, formed in 1988 in Green Bay, is sweetening the pot for potential franchise owners by offering $45,000 in financial support to open a store whose costs are estimated at $225,000, including franchise fees.
Tremelling said about 75 percent of the store’s business is in batteries and the remainder is bulbs, with 70 percent of the overall business devoted to retail consumers and 30 percent to business-to-business customers. They return because they find the range of products useful, even for the ones they can find elsewhere, or for repair services.
Consumers – both walk-ins and business-to-business customers – come to Batteries Plus Bulbs looking for hard-to-find batteries that aren’t necessarily available in the battery section of mass market stores, Tremelling said.
“They make the assumption that you can get batteries everywhere and that isn’t necessarily the case,” Tremelling said.
Even manufacturers aren’t always a reliable source of these products, such as for children’s riding toys, wheelchairs, and cellphones, he said. Batteries Plus Bulbs also performs minor repairs, such as replacing broken screens on a cellphone or tablet.
“Manufacturers making the device, they’re not a true after-market supplier for the product,” Tremelling said. “You buy the product and it’s going to be functional for three to five years. When that (battery) fails, where do you go to get it? ” Big box stores where you might have purchased that rechargeable hedge trimmer have often moved on to new models with different batteries by the time you need a new battery for an older model, he said.
Batteries Plus Bulbs currently has stores in East Amherst, Erie County; Schenectady, Albany and White Plains. A sixth store is planned in Latham, Albany County. New stores are planned all over the state, including Long Island. Tremelling said.
“Long Island is an undiscovered country for us,” Tremelling said, but Upstate New York feels similar to Wisconsin. The company is now headquartered in Hartland, Wisc.
Tremelling said it takes about six months to open a store once a potential franchise owner has decided to commit. Interested parties can contact him through the company’s website.
Papa John’s International says it is looking for new franchise owners to take over the five restaurants in the Rochester area that were closed suddenly Easter Sunday.
“We’re grateful to all of our loyal customers in Rochester and are currently exploring possibilities around new ownership,” read a statement shared by a Papa John’s spokesperson distributed late Monday afternoon. Franchise owner Schuyler J. Lofberg had posted a notice on the stores in Rochester, East Rochester, Fairport, Henrietta and Greece blaming state business climate for the closing.
“It’s come to an abrupt ending due to the heavy headwinds put upon us by New York State. We will not be the last to fall under this current business climate,” the note read in part.
Early Tuesday morning Lofberg responded to an email request for details by saying he’d be happy to talk, but then failed to respond to a request to schedule that discussion.
The corporate spokesperson said closings were limited to the Rochester stores.
7-Eleven Inc. is giving away a store to a female entrepreneur in honor of Women’s History Month.
In its “W.E. Take the Lead” Women’s Franchise Giveaway Contest, 7-Eleven will offer one woman an initial franchise fee-free 7-Eleven franchise, with a franchise fee value up to $190,000. It is the second year the world’s largest convenience retailer has targeted women for the franchise giveaway.
The multiphase contest includes submitting a detailed franchise application, meeting company franchising qualifications, preliminary interviews, a video submission, an in-store hands-on experience and a final one-on-one interview with 7-Eleven senior leadership. The contest will take eight months to complete.
“Last year we had such an incredible response and we are excited to open the contest again to women who are interested in joining the 7-Eleven team,” 7-Eleven Vice President of Operations Support Dan Soper said in a statement. “7-Eleven encourages women entrepreneurship everywhere, especially in the neighborhoods in which we operate.”
The contest winner will have her choice of the company’s corporate-operated 7-Eleven convenience stores available for franchising in the U.S., including Rochester. In addition, 7-Eleven will make a donation to the winning woman’s charity of choice that aligns with the company’s Project A-Game grant program. Project A-Game funds youth programs focused on education, fitness, safety and hunger relief.
When the newest franchise of Salvatore’s Pizzeria and Pub opened earlier this month in Walworth, Wayne County, it might have seemed like a speedy promotion for the 25-year-old owner.
Frank Freida is currently the youngest franchisee in the 29-store chain, but he has been working toward owning his own shop for eight years. He left community college at age 18 and decided he preferred a hands-on education in business. That started with him working as a delivery driver for the Latta Road Salvatore’s in Greece.
Before too long, however, Freida knew he wanted to move into management. And that would require giving up lucrative tips to work inside. He estimated he took a pay cut of $6 an hour to move inside the store so he could start learning other jobs at the pizzeria.
“You can’t be a driver and be the person running the show,” Freida said. As he talked, it was just after 10 a.m. and though his store had just opened, he already had two sliced-up pies and a tray of garlic knots waiting under heat lamps on the counter in case someone came in hungry for a savory mid-morning snack. A pot of coffee – free for anyone – was already brewed.
“I had to stop delivery,” Freida recalled. “You have to know every position better than anyone in the store and faster than anyone so people recognize you as being something special.” He soon learned the jobs of cook and pizza preparer.
Freida worked at the Latta Road store for about three years before moving to another store in the franchise to learn new skills. He speaks admiringly of his time at the pizzeria on East Main Street in Rochester, the original and one of the busiest stores in the Salvatore’s chain. Each person has a specific task there, he said, and even the front-end managers specialize in what they handle, Freida said.
He took notice of everything, as he hoped to replicate it one day as a franchise owner.
“I’ve known I wanted to own one. I’ve been talking to one of the corporate guys for the last four years,” Freida said. After his time on East Main, Freida returned to Latta Road and became a general manager there, more recently working at the Lake Avenue store in Charlotte. Eventually, he was offered the Walworth store as a franchise.
A former garage converted into a pizzeria, the Walworth location needed updating before Freida took over as the owner. The store formerly had a bar that was separate from the chest-high pizza counter. Freida had the pizza counter lowered and included the bar in this enlarged counter.
“We changed the layout and gave it a more homey feel,” he said. Although reared in Greece, Freida has family in Wayne County. “I have family support out this way.” And he has family support in the business. He obtained a startup loan from ESL Federal Credit Union and used his own savings, but his parents also invested in his business.
And at the opening, not only did Salvatore’s officials attend, but three generations of Freida’s family, including grandparents and a great-grandparent were present, too.
While Freida is currently the youngest Salvatore’s franchise owner, he’s not the youngest person to buy a franchise, not by a long shot. Salvatore “Soccer Sam” Fantauzzo founded the restaurant as a home-economics project when he was still in high school. His son, Silvio Fantauzzo, became a franchisee at age 18 and now owns multiple stores.
“Throughout 39 years of Salvatore’s Old Fashioned Pizzeria, several young box makers and pizza chefs are now self-employed owner/operators,” the elder Fantauzzo said. “We plan to continue this tradition of growth and opportunity within all of our brands.”
And Freida is taking note of that example, too. Now the boss of some 15 or 16 employees in one location, he hopes that several years from now he can brag about having multiple outlets as well.
If what one of the company officials says is any indication, that goal is realistic.
“At only 25 years old, Frank shows much initiative and leadership. His work ethic is above par, and we believe that this location, under Frank’s guidance, will be a success,” said Ashley King, vice president of business operations for Salvatore’s.
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