Franchises with an eye on Chicago

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Franchises with an eye on Chicago By: Kevin McKeough March 14, 2011

MARCH 14, 2011 Past Weeks

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As franchising activity picks up, several companies are circling the Chicago market or expanding their local presence. Here's a sampling of franchisers with big plans for the Chicago area.

The business: Extreme Pita ( www.extremepita.com ), a sandwich chain founded in 1997 that now has more than 300 North American locations. Chicago presence: One store in Orland Park and plans for 20 to 25 more area locations in the next five years. Why expanding here: "Obviously, Chicago's known for deep-dish pizza, hot dogs and Italian beef, but we also believe that people who are health-conscious are looking for something that's quick, tasty and healthy," says Ray Zandi, executive vice-president of Extreme Pita USA. Investment needed: $200,000 to $270,000, depending on location, including a $20,000 franchise fee, construction costs and $15,000 to $30,000 in working capital for six months. Financial requirements: $70,000 to $80,000 liquid capital and a net worth of at least $200,000. Royalty and marketing fees: 9% of gross sales. Training: Eight days in the suburban Toronto headquarters, plus three weeks of in-store operations training and two weeks of consulting assistance during the store opening. The business: Hand & Stone ( www.handandstone.com ), a spa offering massage, facial and waxing services. Founded in 2004, Hamilton, N.J.-based Hand & Stone Franchise Corp. began franchising in 2007 and now has 42 North American locations, mostly concentrated on the coasts. Chicago presence: One spa under construction in Algonquin and plans for 35 to 40 more within a 50-mile radius of Chicago in five years. Why expanding here: "You have so many middle- to upper-middle-class communities in the market, and that's where we thrive," says Bob McQuillan, Hand & Stone's vice-president of franchise development. Investment required: Typically $300,000 to $325,000, including a $39,000 franchise fee and $40,000 to $50,000 in working capital for six months. Financial requirements: $100,000 minimum liquid capital and a net worth of at least $400,000. Royalty and marketing fees: 10% of gross revenue, including a 4% advertising fee that is committed entirely to the franchisee's market.

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