Be Your Own Boss and Help Your Community With Franchise Ownership

Be Your Own Boss and Help Your Community With Franchise Ownership Main Photo

2 Nov 2022

Business, Entrepreneur, news

Escape the corporate world. Be your own boss. Help fill a community gap in services or products. Create an opportunity to move back to Phelps County or help a younger generation move back with a new business.

These are just a few of the benefits of franchise ownership presented at a recent workshop sponsored by the Phelps County Development Corporation.

Blake Martin, president and franchise specialist with FranNet of the Heartland, explained how he serves as a “” for franchises and potential franchise owners.

Martin hails from the tiny town of Beulah, Mich. (population 342), and he has a heart for helping grow small towns through franchise ownership.

“There’s kind of a magic to small towns,” Martin said. “When a new business opens in a small town, the entire community gets behind it.”

Martin told the Holdrege audience that many franchises are looking to locate in a small market, and they aren’t just “burgers and fries” franchises.

Some of the franchises are service based or seasonal, such as a pop-up flower shop that’s open for just 12 weeks and has six-income potential. Others include house-painting and tree-trimming services, home care, moving companies, educational services and more.

“We see a lot of potential here based on the data analysis and the gaps in this community,” Martin said.

He has vetted a list of more than 200 franchises seeking to expand (available on his website at Those franchises pay his salary so his services are free to potential franchise owners who want to start a business. He guides potential owners through a 4-Step analysis to determine the best franchise fit for an individual, partners, or investor group. The process includes identifying needs and wants, designing the owner role (owner operator, general manager, semi-absentee), establishing business preferences and building an investment game plan.

Categories that would help fill gaps in Holdrege are health and beauty, clothing and apparel, food services, sporting goods, building materials, home and farm, and general merchandise.

Martin dispelled some of the misconceptions about franchise ownership, including that it’s only for the wealthy. Franchises can be started for as little as $30,000. He also emphasized that owning a franchise is being in business “for yourself but not by yourself.” He said owners can sell or transfer their franchise business at any time.

Katherine Shinn with the Nebraska Enterprise Fund shared information on resources she has available to help Nebraskans start businesses, including low-interest loans.

In addition, PCDC offers a Business and Franchise Development Program that includes reimbursement of up to $10,000 for remodeling or initial rent plus low-interest gap financing. More information on PCDC’s program can be found on the PCDC website.

Kam South of Retail Strategies also spoke at the workshop. He said one trend his company is seeing is existing businesses adding a franchise within their business, such as a UPS store or a Starbucks inside of another store.

South presented specific demographic information about the Phelps County market. He said the market includes 22,760 people within a 15-minute drive. The average age is 43.2, and the average household income is $75,032. Through a partnership with PCDC, Retail Strategies can meet with local potential business owners to find other statistics needed to start a business, such as traffic counts, buying patterns, etc.

In addition to potential business owners, PCDC and its partners will also work with landowners who want to lease or sell to a business owner or multiple tenants.

For more information about the franchise opportunities or to connect with FranNet or Retail Strategies, contact PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery at (308) 995-4148 or