CURVES FOR WOMEN: Business Broker Slams Curves Franchise and Franchisor
November 15, 2008
Franchise Pick features the sad story of the demise and closing of the Curves for Women franchise in Kailu, HI despite the franchise owner’s valiant struggle.
Franchise owner Robbi Ugini closed the Curves for Women franchise location in Kailua earlier this month, leaving some 270 members in the lurch and her 5 employees suddenly jobless.
According to Honolulu Star Bulletin reporter Nina Woo, “A corporate spokeswoman for Curves did not return calls by press time…” Reporter Woo was able to get a reaction from a local business broker who has been trying to help struggling franchise owners for the past several years.
In Woo’s article, the broker reportedly categorizes the Curves franchise as a fad whose time has passed, and the Curves International franchisor as insensitive and uncaring to the plight of its failing franchise owners:
Mark Heilbron, a business broker at VR Mergers & Acquisitions, categorized Curves as a trendy kind of business.
Heilbron said he sold two Curves franchises over the last three years, but had several listed this last year that never sold.
“It’s a faddish type of business,” he said. “They made a lot of money and then when the trend went out, people who were still in them lost a lot of money.”
While buyers are more cautious in these economic times, Heilbron said they are still out there, with money they’d rather invest in a business than in the volatile stock market.
“Most people get talked into buying a franchise, and you’ve got to realize, depending on who the franchisor is, that most don’t care whether the franchisee makes it or not,” he said.
The story raises many disturbing questions.
Why was Woo allowed to sign 2-year lease for what is assumedly a 10-year franchise?
What assistance did the franchisor provide to keep her from failing?
Will CCI charge Robbi Ugini the $10,000 “failure fee” for prematurely closing her franchise?
If so, will that money be used to repay members who might be due refunds?
Is the Curves website accurate in stating “With a Curves franchise, you’ll be in business for yourself, not by yourself…”?
Read more about Curves at: FranchisePick.Com
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