Owning your own business is part of the American Dream. The pursuit of that dream has always been a part of the United States called New England. New England has a rich history of invention, innovation, strong entrepreneurial spirit, and a highly supportive network of institutions that has made New England a great place to launch a business.
Since 1932, when Howard Johnson franchised the first Howard Johnson’s Restaurant in Orleans, MA, franchising has played an important role in the New England economy.
Franchising, more than ever before, has an unprecedented opportunity to make a major positive impact on the future New England economy. A 2004-05 study conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoppers, on behalf of the IFA, found that in New England over 750,000 jobs are a result of franchising; the total output is over 70 billion dollars a year; and there are over 32,000 franchise establishments in the six New England States.
The seed for the New England Franchise Association (NEFA) was first planted about 20 years ago when the International Franchise Association (IFA) started the First Tuesday Program. The First Tuesday Program was a way for IFA Members to interact locally on the first Tuesday of each quarter of the year. The IFA saw the First Tuesday Program as a way to make a “high touch” connection to members at a local level.
Later the IFA created the Franchise Business Networks (FBN) to help the IFA grow membership and also help IFA Members network locally. At some point the IFA decided to merge the two groups together. That is when the New England Franchise Business Network (NEFBN) was formed. In January 2007 NEFBN become NEFA.
The mission of NEFA is: “Promoting the responsible growth of franchising throughout New England by fostering positive communication, learning and best practices.” NEFA is an association dedicated to the entire franchise community in New England, including: franchisors, franchisees, investors, vendors, and customers.
NEFA is a 501c (6) non profit corporation and is governed by a Board of Directors, with Steve Dubin, of PR Works as President, Suzanne Cummings of the Law Offices of Suzanne Cummings, as Clerk. The writer, Jim Coen, is the Executive Director.
As the Executive Director of NEFA my role is to provide the management and support for NEFA to continue its mission and continue to build its membership. NEFA currently has over 125 members and has just scratched the surface of the potential membership. NEFA membership is open to everyone. Franchisors from all over the country are invited to join; the only stipulation is that the franchisor have at least one unit open in New England.
Some of the largest and most respected franchise brands in the world are headquartered in New England including: Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins, Fantastic Sams, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Brueggers, Friendly’s, Pizzeria Uno’s, Au Bon Pain, and Edible Arranngements, to name a few.
Members of NEFA include franchisors, franchisee associations such as the Dunkin Donuts Independent Franchise Owners (DDIFO), attorneys that represent franchisors as well as attorneys that represent franchisees, area developers, vendors, and franchisees.
NEFA produces at least 5 events per year. The events include time for networking, a speaker, dinner, and a legal and legislative update, which is provided by Michael Radin of Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C. The speakers scheduled for 2008 include: Peter Birkeland, Birkeland Consultants; Leonard Swartz, iFranchise Group; Ed Teixeira, Franchise Know How; Fred Berni, Dynamic Performance Systems and Michael Isakson, ServiceMaster.
NEFA has also started a weblog entitled: Franchising in New England (http://www.nefranchise.org/blog). Franchising in New England features news and announcements from and about NEFA and its Members.
To learn more about NEFA visit: www.nefranchise.org
About the Author: Jim Coen is Executive Director of the New England Franchise Association (NEFA). You can reach Jim at 617-469-3002 or email him at Jimcoen@nefranchise.org