Small businesses — which create an outsize share of jobs — appear to be launching and expanding again. The International Franchise Association expects the number of U.S. franchise locations to rise 2% this year after dipping three years in a row.
Franchise company Driven Brands, which owns Meineke and Maaco, sold more franchise licenses in November (2011) than in the past five years combined, says CEO Ken Walker. "We are beginning to get businesses financed," he says.
Franchisee Stephen Keel, who owns a Maaco auto body outlet in Catonsville, Md., sought for a year to move it to nearby Randallstown and add a Meineke auto repair shop at the new site. But he couldn't get a $1.7 million loan from seven banks despite a $2.2 million appraisal of his planned new land and building. Recently, he snared a loan from Susquehanna Bank and plans to add four to seven workers to his 12-employee staff after he opens the new location in April.
From an article in USA Today published 10 January 2012