A Florida couple lost their successful franchise business after a large international corporation abruptly shut them down in 2011. After investing tens of thousands of dollars into their franchise business and becoming one of the most successful in the Tampa area, the couple was stripped of their business and left with no recourse against the giant international corporation.
The international corporation offers afterschool reading and math programs throughout 49 countries and has around 1,600 franchises throughout the United States and Canada.
Shortly after opening a franchise in the Tampa area, the couple became leaders in the franchise association, joining other franchise owners across the country to advocate for their businesses and to address unfair corporate governance issues. Because of this, they became a target of the international organization. When one of the owners suffered a health problem in 2011, the organization pounced on an opportunity to strip the couple of their franchise due to a technicality and issued them an order to shut down immediately.
The couple invested as much as $75,000 of their personal money into the business and were forced to shut down before they could sell the business to a new owner.
Unfortunately, this is a too-familiar story throughout Florida, where small business franchise owners are taken advantage of by large and powerful corporations. Twenty-three other states have already enacted laws to provide greater protection for small business franchise owners and it is time for Florida to act. There are more than 40,000 small businesses owned and operated by franchisees who provide over 404,000 jobs and generate $35 billion in economic activity annually.
The Protect Florida Small Business Act, Senate Bill 750, sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala and Rep. Jason Brodeur, will provide commonsense protections to the hard-working business owners throughout our state and ensure that Florida continues to lead the nation in job growth. Florida citizens can log on to www.ProtectFLBusiness.com to support passage of this important legislation.
Keith Miller is the chairman of the Coalition of Franchisee Associations (CFA), an organization founded in 2007 to provide a forum for franchisees to share best practices, knowledge, resources, and training. Miller and the CFA are supporting this legislation and giving a voice to the individual franchisee owners who are at risk of speaking out themselves.