Chain lightning: Independence through franchises in New Hampshire
Windham resident Andy Smolko recently left a longtime career in high tech to open a CertaPro Painters franchise in Nashua. Currently there are approximately 3,700 franchises in the state, which generate more than $3 billion annually. COURTESY
At left, Jamie Calamari, 20, serves up yogurt behind the counter of the Sweet Kiwi Yogurt franchise in Londonderry, owned by her mother, Laura Calamari. APRIL GUILMET Below, Windham resident Andy Smolko recently left a longtime career in high tech to open a CertaPro Painters franchise in Nashua. Courtesy
At last count, the Granite State had approximately 3,700 franchises, according to Matt Haller, vice president of the International Franchise Association.
On a national level, franchises are expected to contribute to a 2.8 percent increase in job creation this year, with a good portion of that growth centered in the area of personal services (salons, spas and fitness), home improvements and "discretionary spending" areas such as restaurants and specialty food and wine businesses.
After realizing that Jamie, 20, and her two sisters Kristin, 17, and Renee, 15, were traveling to Andover, Mass., for a frozen treat, the former stay-at-home mother decided to take matters into her own hands.
Both locations seem to be thriving, Calamari said, and with all three daughters among the shops' 20 employees, it's very much remained a family affair.
Painting it green
For 55-year-old Andy Smolko, opening a CertaPro Painters branch in Nashua provided a welcome respite from the corporate rat race.
While winter tends to be a slow season in the painting business, things are definitely on the upswing: Smolko said he plans to hire his first employee sometime in February.
Like Calamari, Smolko also plans on using his new business as a means to assist a cause close to his heart.
"Sometimes the universe gives you what you need," the Windham resident said.
For German-born Jackie Martinez, opening up an Elements Massage franchise in Salem last month was a way of obtaining the American dream.
When she first moved to the U.S. at the age of 18, Martinez spoke little English and worked several low-wage jobs to pay for classes.
Over the years Martinez worked through the company ranks, and after five years of working for other Elements Massage franchise owners, she was able to purchase the new Salem shop, located at 315C S. Broadway.
Having worked as an appliance repair specialist for Sears for well over two decades, Jeanne Lemieux said she decided to open her own shop after becoming increasingly frustrated with the changes in her former corporation.
The company, which specializes in appliance repair, has more than 150 locations around North America.
"I was answering phones in between going out on the road," she said with a laugh. But within a year, business continued to boom, and her husband stepped in to lend a hand.
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