We’d like to take this opportunity to pass on our condolences to the family of Arthur Bartlett who passed away on New Year’s Eve. Mr Bartlett was a true giant of franchising.
Born in 1933 in New York state, Bartlett is one of the people most responsible for the spread of the real estate franchise. The company he co-founded with Marshall Fisher, Century 21, may be the most recognizable real estate franchise in the country. Bartlett had worked as a salesman before getting into real estate, and was turned onto franchising by Fisher. They opened their first Century 21 in Santa Ana, California way back in 1971 and Bartlett was quickly converted into one of the most prominent believers in the power of franchising.
"Franchising has been the savior of free enterprise in this country. It has given the small businessman a way to survive," Bartlett told the LA Times back in 1982. Those are words that will inspire anyone involved in franchising in the slightest.
According to the LA Times obituary, what made Bartlett unique was his ability to convince thousands of independent real estate companies to believe that their greater interest rested in being part of a national franchise organization.
When you think of it, Century 21 is everything is a franchise should be. Those yellow-y jackets, that iconic logo: Century 21 business owners embodied all of the principles of the larger business they represened and they became America’s most visible real estate company. It’s a global organization now with over 7,700 offices around the world.
We’d like to salute Arthur Bartlett for his life work and remember everything he has done for franchising.