When Big Business is Small Business
The Superbowl has not always been my favorite time of year. You see, I spent a good bit of my formative years in the pizza business, and Superbowl Sunday is traditionally the busiest day of the year, sometimes painfully busy – as the linked story from WCBI will attest, below. The funny part about it then, and about it now, is hearing friend and coworkers laud, ” Papa John must be printing money today – and he ain’t doin’ nuttin!! ”
John Schnatter (AKA Papa John) does indeed make some money off of the local stores. He earned that right 30 years ago when he built the company. However, the lion’s share of the reward is earned by local owners who worked for their money and took a risk on a franchise. Like most towns in Mississippi, Starkville and Columbus have the majority of restaurant chains owned by local folks. A local businessman or manager took the chance to buy into a chain to see if he could defy the odds and make a living.
Schnatter, far right, and his team enjoying the sweet taste of victory. (Graphic courtesy of Business Wire)
Most franchises fail within a few years, often leaving the proprietor in very poor shape for his gamble. There are hundreds of locals who have lost their life savings taking a shot on a cafe, sandwich shop, or fast food joint. Buffalo Wild Wings, The Grill, McDonald’s, Subway, Papa John’s, and others all have local franchisees as their roots. The tax money stays in the state. They participate in the community by sponsoring soccer teams and school functions. The owners, quite often, live in your neighborhood; they might even go to church with you. Many of the chains that we routinely view as giants are, in reality, just as local as our favorite watering hole or dry cleaner.
Ask around, and keep a sharp eye out for locally owned “big businesses.” When you find one, thanks them for investing in our community. Their big, small business is good for our tax base, good for our community and great for business.