CLUBSTORE OUTLET: Chris Conner, Franchise Marketing Systems (FMS) Success Story?
Christopher Conner & Franchise Marketing Systems (FMS) point to the franchise development strategy and lead generation program they designed and implemented for the Clubstore Outlet franchise chain as an example of their fine work in action. It’s one of the FMS’ celebrated case studies meant to represent the dramatic outcomes Franchise Marketing Systems clients can expect if they follow this company’s recommendations. Now that Clubstore Outlet franchise chain, just three years in to its franchise development intitiative, is sinking into a quagmire of lawsuits, bankruptcies, and financially devastated investors, Chris Conner’s case study may be right on the money. by Sean Kelly
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) In 2016, Christopher James Conner and his Franchise Marketing Systems (FMS) consulting and marketing company were hit with an unprecedented enforcement action by the California Department of Business Oversight.
Chris Conner and FMS were banned from selling or marketing franchises in California for 5 years for violating regulations against lying in applications or reports, and against altering or destroying documents submitted to the Commissioner.
In an interview with franchise site Blue Mau Mau, Department spokesman Tom Dresslar cited Chris Conner and Franchise Marketing Systems (FMS) as one of a number of irresponsible franchise consultants who encourage unqualified and undercapitalized franchisors to attempt to grow beyond their abilities.
In the 3/9/16 Blue Mau Mau article, Janet Sparks wrote:
Spokesman Dresslar also explained that in the bigger picture, one of the problems the Department sees, not just in this case but others, is that franchise consultants are encouraging and convincing businesses to form franchises before they are ready.
“In the end, that hurts both the franchisors and the franchisees. Companies should have a viable business plan, and should be adequately capitalized,” he said. He added that some consultants, in their effort to make a buck, dismiss those requirements. “They don’t properly acknowledge those best business practices,” Dresslar said.
Chris Conner and FMS Celebrate the Disastrous Clubstore Outlet as an FMS Success Story
Yesterday, we posted TAPP PALMER, Clubstore Outlet Franchise: What Happened?
We included our working list of 21 Clubstore Outlet franchise locations that opened since the formation of the franchise program in 2015.
Of the 21 franchise locations, it appears that more than half (11) have already closed.
Of the 9 that are still operating under the Clubstore Outlet name, we’ve been told that 0% receive purchasing or other assistance from the franchisor, Clubstore Outlet LLC, or founder Tapp Palmer. (We are seeking to confirm this – and also whether any of these stores were conversions from a previous Tapp Palmer non-franchise venture) The remaining stores, we’ve been told, are operating as independent businesses… but with the initial costs for services they never received.
Additionally, FMS claims that Clubstore Outlet sold franchises to 30 new franchise investors… so there may be ten or more who paid $40,000 franchise fees to Tapp Palmer but never opened a store.
In less than three years, more than half the Clubstore Outlet stores have closed, the franchisor is reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy, franchisees are suing for fraud while trying to save their homes… and Franchise Marketing Systems has a full page on its website that states:
ClubStore Outlet’s team of consultants implemented the model and executed the franchise sales platform to perfection.
During the first two years of expansion, the organization sold 4 new Master Franchise owners and over 30 new franchise owners who invested in single store operations.
In case the FMS Clubstore Outlet franchise case study page is removed after this post is published, here’s a PDF version we preserved: Franchise Marketing Systems Clubstore Outlet (PDF)
What do you think? Please share corrections, opinions, clarifications in the comments below, or by emailing us in confidence to UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com.
Clubstore Outlet “Executed the Franchise Sales Platform to Perfection” – Franchise Marketing Systems
Chris Conner & Franchise Marketing Systems (FMS) take credit for the Clubstore Outlet strategy of utilizing franchise brokers to sell Master franchises:
ClubStore Outlets hired Franchise Marketing Systems to initiate the franchise development process and start defining the growth channel for the retail model…
ClubStore had a unique position and strong value proposition. Franchise Marketing Systems worked with ClubStore Outlets to define the model and create a franchise strategic plan which focused on several Key Performance Indicators.
When the Clubstore Outlet franchise was launched, the marketing program was split into two categories, one focused on recruiting the single unit franchisee and the other on selling Master Franchise models. In defining the marketing strategy, Mr. Conner’s team developed an internet lead generation program to recruit new franchise store operators and a franchise broker sales model focused on recruiting new Master Franchise investors. ClubStore Outlet’s team of consultants implemented the model and executed the franchise sales platform to perfection. During the first two years of expansion, the organization sold 4 new Master Franchise owners and over 30 new franchise owners who invested in single store operations.
What made the Clubstore model so attractive was the potential for an absentee owner to invest in the business and see impressive returns with a retail franchise model that had amazingly low cost of goods and impressive top line numbers. Today, with solid management and operations-focused leadership, the Clubstore brand has an opportunity to scale nationally and even globally.
Franserve, The Franchise Explorer, IFPG Members Also Cashed In
Who makes money when a flawed, undercaptialized, non-franchiseable or otherwise doomed franchise opportunity is launched?
Which individuals and companies count on the lost investments and ruined lives left in their wake to quietly fade away as they continue to call themselves “experts” and troll the IFA shows and Internet for the next franchise illusion they can promote and exploit?
Christopher Conner, Alan George, Charles White and the rest of the gang at Franchise Marketing Systems (FMS) seem to have been paid… and proud of their involvement with Clubstore Outlet.
There’s Franserve and its franchise brokers, such as Jerry Rieder and Dennis Martineau. Jerry Rieder says he feels bad that his clients lost half a million on his recommendation, yet hasn’t, to my knowledge, offered to donate his commission to offset their losses and legal fees.
Franserve broker and owner of Franchise Advisors International LLC, Dennis Martineau told prospects that Clubstore Outlet would open 50 stores in 2016 and was “the most exciting concept in retail.”
There’s Kim Marinoff of The Franchise Explorer, A2B Franchise Consulting of Broomfield, CO who got high fives from her IFPG franchise broker’s organization for closing multiple commissionable Master Franchise sales. On her LinkedIn profile, Kim Marinoff boasts that she sold 202 Quiznos Sub franchises in 2002… She does not mention how many of those franchisees failed.
It’s likely that the cheerful, blonde-haired girl next door Pamela Currie, franchise advisor to Tapp Palmer since 2015 and owner of Franchise Intellect, got paid. According to Pamela Currie’s LinkedIn profile, she’s a Certified Franchise Executive, host of the Franchise Business Radio show, and a consultant who will “help you through the process of making an educated and informed decision on franchise selection…” just like she did for Clubstore Outlet franchise investors!
There are the real estate “consultants” and brokers, like Shary Thur of Thur Retail, who help lend credibility to operators like Tapp Palmer, who help create urgency and move along the process, and who extract fees and commissions and are far down the road when the franchisees fail and are getting sued by the landlord for the lease they got locked into.
Others Who Assisted Clubstore Outlet LLC & Tapp Palmer
Attorney Pete Dosik of Atlanta-based franchise law firm Shipe Dosik Law LLC took over state registration filings for Clubstore Outlet, LLC around or before September, 2016.
Clubstore Outlet franchise victims: Please share a comment below or email us at UnhappyFranchisee[at]Gmail.com to share who made money off your investment.
And of course, there are the franchise lead generation portals such as Franchise Gator, Franchise Clique, Biz Buy Sell… many of whom still display the Clubstore Outlet ads they used to lure in franchise investors.
And there are the lenders, the lending consultants, loan brokers and the SBA specialists who are more than eager (as long as they get their fees or commissions) to help franchise investors put their 401Ks and family homes on the line for an untested, unproven franchise concept destined to fail.
Tragic stories like those of Clubstore Outlet continue to happen year after year with concept after concept.
The franchise “experts” continue with their seminars and radio shows, never showing remorse, regret or any indication that they have learned from the failures of the past or taken steps to prevent the next franchise disaster.
The reason for that is simple: All the money these franchisees (and sometimes franchisors) lose has to go somewhere.
As long as there is money selling hopes and dreams of being part of the next hot franchise, there will be con-sultants, brokers, ad sales reps, and other smiling franchise experts ready to help trusting franchise investors step off that financial cliff.
NOTE: Companies and individuals discussed on UnhappyFranchisee.Com are invited to provide corrections, clarifications, rebuttals and alternative points-of-view by posting a comment below or emailing us in confidence at UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON TAPP PALMER & CLUBSTORE OUTLET FRANCHISE BELOW.
FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company
TAPP PALMER, Clubstore Outlet Franchise: What Happened?
READ The Series “Dr. John Hayes’ Franchise Fraud School & Pay-For-Praise Emporium!”: Dr. John Hayes’ Franchise Fraud School
TAGS: Christopher Conner, Franchise Marketing Systems, FMS, Tapp Palmer, Tapp Palmer Clubstore Outlet, Shary Thur, Kim Marinoff, Clubstore Outlet, Clubstore Outlet franchise, Clubstore Outlet franchise opportunity, Clubstore Outlet franchise complaints, Christopher Conner, Franchise Marketing Systems, FMS, Alan George, franchise, Pamela Currie, Jerry Rieder, Dennis Martineau, Franserve, Franserve franchise brokers, IFPG, International Franchise Professionals Group, franchise opportunity, franchise complaints, unhappy franchisee
6 thoughts on “CLUBSTORE OUTLET: Chris Conner, Franchise Marketing Systems (FMS) Success Story?”
Coincidently Christopher Conner sells Creamistry franchises and California based Devin Conner sells Creamistry franchises.
Devin Connor https://www.linkedin.com/in/devin-conner-711b511/ according to his profile on Linked began selling franchises for franchisors in January 2016.
Wonder if the brothers will merge their franchise sales companies after brother Christopher Conner’s 5 year ban in California is up?
Yeah I have heard this Chris Conners is a crook too.
C. Is subject to a currently effective injunction or restrictive order or decree resulting from a pending or
concluded action brought by a public agency and relating to the franchise or to a Federal, State or
Canadian franchise, securities, antitrust, trade regulation or trade practice law. YES_____NO* X
In an effort to clear up any misconception stemming from my former involvement with Conner &
Associates, LLC, I have voluntarily agreed to include the following additional disclosures:
From March 2012 through December 2015,1 was an independent contractor, working in my own name, Devin Conner, and was engaged by Conner and Associates, LLC doing business as Franchise Marketing Systems. This company was owned by my brother, Christopher Conner. I am no longer working as an independent contractor for Conner & Associates, LLC. I have never been an owner, officer, director, or employee of Conner and Associates, LLC. My engagement included mainly consulting to prospective franchisors regarding the process of becoming registered to sell franchises, and in assisting registered franchisors sell franchises, or in states where registration was not required, to assist those franchisors in sales of franchises using the Franchise Disclosure Document prepared for those companies. I did not prepare the Franchise Disclosure Document. Those prospective franchise companies, which I consulted with, included Tomii. Massage Franchising, Inc., and RedRhino. I did not offer and sell any franchises on behalf Tomii, and did not offer and sell franchises on behalf of Red Rhino in the State of California. I acted as a sales agent for RedRhino from 2/2013 to 4/2014, for the sale of franchises in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Ohio.” I did provide consulting services to Tomii regarding how to become a registered Franchisor in California.
On December 1, 2014 the California Commissioner of Business Oversight (DBO) issued a Citation and
Order against Christopher Conner, and Conner and Associates, LLC (Respondents) for failure to comply with various provisions of the California Corporations Code concerning the sale of unregistered franchises. A link to this citation is below. I was not aware of the details of the investigation at that time, did not participate in the investigation, did not engage in the conduct indicated in the Citation, and was not an employee.
On March 12,2015, a lawsuit was filed by an Ohio franchisee against Christopher Conner, and against
Conner and Associates, LLC based on the Citation. 1 was not named in that lawsuit and am not aware of the status of the proceedings.
On June 17, 2015, the California Commissioner of Business Oversight (DBO) issued another Citation and Order against Respondents for failure to comply with various provisions ofthe California Corporations Code concerning the sale of unregistered franchises, for failing to provide accurate Seller disclosure forms, for failure to provide accurate agreements to the DBO and for failing to cooperate with the DBO in its investigation and for actively destroying or covering up evidence. A link to the citation is listed below. I was not aware of the details of investigation at the time, did not participate in the investigation, and did not engage in the conduct indicated in the Citation, was not an employee, and was not individually named. 1 am informed that the Respondents in the Citation requested a Hearing with the DBO, which was scheduled for May 2016.1 am further informed that the Respondents subsequently withdrew the hearing request and entered into a Stipulation with the DBO in March 2016, agreeing to various enforcement actions including an injunction prohibiting respondents from selling franchises in the state of California for 5 years. A link to the stipulation is below. I did not participate in the Stipulation negotiations and the enforcement actions did not involve me. I severed my independent contractor engagement with Conner & Associates in December 2015 and am not working in any capacity with Christopher Conner or Conner & Associates, LLC.
I am informed there may be or may have been investigations or enforcement actions taken or
contemplated by the DBO with regard to involvement of Respondents involving EZ Plans Franchising,
Inc.; Faranak Dorafshar, LLC; Hot Fries, LLC; KEP Fortune, LLC; SD Franchising, LLC; and Star Nursing
Partners, LLC, but I am not specifically aware of any such investigations or orders. I did not engage in any consulting or sales agent activities, or any other activities with those companies while I was and
independent contractor with Conner and Associates, LLC, or after.
I am not aware of any other franchisor or potential franchisor companies, which the DBO may have
investigated or may be investigating which involve Conner and Associates, LLC. I am currently engaged
as an independent contractor by West Coast Franchise Developers, LLC, a Wyoming limited liability
company (“WCFD”). Neither Christopher Conner nor Conner and Associates, LLC have any involvement
in or with WCFD. For reference, below are links to the Department of Business Oversight actions
referenced above. My only connection to these actions is the fact that I once had a contractual
relationship with one of the named parties.
I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
(1) Dec. 1, 2014 citation naming Redrhino, Inc, Conner and Associates, LLC (D/B/A Franchise Marketing
Systems), Michael Kenealy and Christopher Conner:
(2) June 17, 2015 Stop Order Denying Effectiveness of the Franchise Registration Application of Tomii
Franchising, Inc.: http://www.dbo.ca.gov/ENF/pdf/2015/Tomii%20Franchising%20lnc.-
(3) March 18, 2016 Stipulation entered into between the California Commissioner of Business Oversight and Christopher Conner and Conner and Associates, LLC (D/B/A Franchise Marketing Systems): http://dbo.ca.gOv/ENF/pdf/2016/Conner%20ChristopherStipulation%20to%20Citation.pdf
Is this just a trick to get around the Calif. ban?
Wonder if the Department of Corporations California monitors this website and Christopher & Devin Conners?
Look for closed stores called Overstock. His trail of destruction goes back far longer than the 20 teens.