On Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 at the offices of the Maine Franchise Owners Association (MFOA), various franchise owners, vendors, and government officials attended the MFOA open house in Portland. MFOA is an independent organization of franchise owners in Maine that is committed to helping franchise owners grow, expand, and create more jobs for the citizens of Maine.
MFOA’s mission is to provide ongoing advocacy for the franchise owner community in Maine by focusing on state and local legislation; change the climate of franchising in Maine to be more fair and balanced; identify best practices in franchising and to drive investors in Maine to exemplary franchisors; develop leverage by building a strong franchise owner constituency; address labor and health issues constructively; address abuses in the courts and legislatures that cannot be handled through negotiation.
Jim Coen, Executive Director, says he’s excited to be involved in the creation of MFOA. “The community has been very supportive, and the amount of people who attended our open house shows that the interest is there for an association of this kind.” Maine Franchise Owners contribute substantially to the economy in Maine and we fill franchising can play an even greater role in Maine’s economic future.
Susan Margiloff, Independent Associate at LegalShield saw MFOA’s open house as a great networking opportunity. James Sandborn, Certified Insurance Counselor at GHM Insurance Agency, agrees. “Networking is so important, which is why I came out tonight to meet everyone,” he says.
Jason Cole, Buffalo Wild Wings Franchise Owner, was curious to see what opportunities there were. Linwood Bibber, Meineke Care Care Franchise Owner, says “I came out tonight because it’s good to be involved and it’s good to stay connected. I really wanted to see what was happening.”
Cole, who owns stores in Maine and New Hampshire, is originally from Minnesota but saw an opportunity to expand Buffalo Wild Wings to Maine. “My business partner vacationed in Maine a lot, and we knew we wanted to expand. We realized there was such a gaping hole up here in Maine, so we went for it,” he says. “We have a hot brand,” Cole continues. “What you put in is what you get out and we are confident in our ability to make it successful.”
Bibber, who owns a Meineke shop in Augusta, finds being a franchise owner in Maine to be difficult but rewarding all at once. “The government can get in the way sometimes by changing the rules and regulations, and it can be difficult to find quality people who are willing to work hard, but I love providing job opportunities, keeping my customers cars running well, and giving back to the local community when I can.”
Margiloff sees MFOA as a great place to share ideas and best practices. “This is such a wonderful idea and I’m excited to hear about it.”
Bibber believes in the power of a group. “It’s nice being involved from the inside rather than sitting back and letting people on the outside do all the work for you.”
Ben Gilman, Senior Government Relation Specialist for the Chamber of Commerce, sees MFOA’s presence in Maine as a positive one. “This is a really great thing because there is now a common purpose and reason for franchise owners to come together,” he says. “I can see this increasing the presence of any trade association, and it really will be beneficial for franchise owners.”