How Franchising is Growing in: Philadelphia
How Franchising is Growing in: Philadelphia

As the economy continues to recover across the country, The City of Brotherly Love has a plan and it starts this year. The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is spearheading a campaign to focus on continued economic development and job creation in the Philadelphia market over the next five yea.....

As the economy continues to recover across the country, The City of Brotherly Love has a plan and it starts this year. The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is spearheading a campaign to focus on continued economic development and job creation in the Philadelphia market over the next five years called the Roadmap for Growth for the City of Philadelphia: 2015-2020.

Part of this road map is a new laser focus for city leaders to provide an attractive business climate by improving upon areas like transparency, permitting and zoning processes, and identifying economic development zones with tax incentives attached.

A city dedicated to involving community members in the economic conversation and dedicated to a plan that can be acted on is just one of the many elements making Philadelphia attractive to entrepreneurs, and franchisors have taken note of Philadelphia’s potential.

President and CEO of Hand & Stone Franchise Corporation Todd Leff expects continued expansion with at least two additional locations to open in Philadelphia this year.

“Demographics in Philadelphia are strong with a median household income of $65,000 and many great surrounding communities that fall into that category as well,” Leff says. “There has also been significant new construction in northeast Philadelphia specifically, providing attractive rental rates which makes the area a good fit for growth.”

Resurgence in downtown Philadelphia also allowed for two city center locations for Hand & Stone, an opportunity likely noticed by other brands in the market as well.

Sylvan Learning, a continually growing education franchise has pegged Philadelphia for double digit growth. Director of Franchise Development Georgia Paulding says, “Renewed national focus on STEM education, combined with the difficulties surrounding the Philadelphia education budget, allows Sylvan ample opportunity to offer effective and low-cost robotics, coding and math programs, along with traditional tutoring services in this market in particular.”

Another positive sign for franchise growth in Philadelphia is brands that have had a presence in the market for quite some time are still looking to expand further.

Vice President of Franchise Development Jennifer Durham for Checkers and Rally’s Restaurants, Inc. shared that the brand added three new Checkers restaurants in the market in 2014, bringing the total restaurant count to 25.

“In the past four years, we grew our restaurant count in the Philadelphia market by 50 percent, and we expect the momentum to continue in 2015,” said Durham.

Checkers is currently developing a 14-unit restaurant deal which will take place over a span a five years; Checkers has eight approved sites working to open in 2015 already.

It’s clear that Philadelphia is a diverse market given the wide variety of industries targeting the area for growth. Some have been growing in Philadelphia for years while others view now as the perfect time to introduce a new concept to an area with appealing demographics and positive economic indicators.

WORKOUT ANYTIME just opened their first fitness club in the market over the holidays and Vice President of Development Randy Trotter says this is the first of 10 planned clubs for greater Philadelphia by 2018. The local owner of the first Philadelphia location, Brandon Tanzola, will be at the forefront of this expansion, as he has plans for an additional four clubs himself.

Philadelphia has long been a franchise-friendly market and has provided significant growth opportunity to hometown favorites like Philly Pretzel Factory, now with well over 100 franchised locations. But in recent years Philadelphia has seen consistent growth through new brands entering the marketplace as well; growth is definitely not expected to slow anytime soon.

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