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Starting a Small Business in Hazelwood: Opening a Franchise

"Hazelwood Patch" talks to economic developer David Cox to get the inside scoop on opening a franchise in town.

Have you ever thought of opening your own business? Hazelwood is home to more than 1,000 business, and city officials say they have a great deal of experience in both dealing with various industries and helping residents to grow all different types of businesses.

The first step in building your business is to decide exactly what you want to do—to choose or create your own business idea. Although this seems pretty obvious, many people know that they want to be entrepreneurs, but they don’t know exactly how they want to go about doing that.

The good news is that you’ve got plenty of options. This week, we’re discussing franchise opportunites, and next week, we’ll discuss original concepts you design yourself.

Considering Buying a Franchise?

As a franchisor, your business plan will already be determined, for the most part, and companies that offer franchising opportunities have generally been very successful, so they’ve got proven business formulas.

’s economic developer, David Cox, and his office provide support to local businesses.

“Owning a franchise isn’t much different than opening any business,” Cox told Hazelwood Patch. “It requires obtaining a business license from the city and getting a commercial occupancy inspection and permit.” 

He said that building permits are also required if a new building is built or an existing one renovated. 

Cox noted that franchises have had some success in Hazelwood, especially fast food chains and small shops at the St. Louis Mills Mall.

“The fast food places tend to do better,” Cox said. “Also, national or regional name recognition helps.”

One of the biggest benefits of buying a franchise or another existing business is name recognition, which can provide an instant customer base.

Cox said that some of the franchises that have had good success in Hazelwood include , , , , and .

 “But there are some local success stories, like ,” he added.

But here in Hazelwood, those businesses are already covered—so consider franchising with a company that is already established, but which hasn’t reached this area yet.

Cox said he suggests taking a close look at the location of your business and its proximity to your customer base.

“We have some locations that are probably better than others depending on access,” he said. “The city also has strict building codes, sign ordinances and inspections. They will have to keep their properties maintained.”

He said that he isn’t aware of any businesses that traditionally fail in town, and while there were some bsuiensses lost in Hazelwood during the recession, he felt it was due to the ecomony.

“Some we’ve lost at the mall have probably been due to changes in fashion and tastes,” Cox said. “Others I’ve noticed closed when the owners or landlords didn’t keep up the properties and they started losing customers—or attracting the wrong ones.”

Which franchise is right for you?

Not sure where to start when it comes to choosing a franchise? There are hundreds of franchise opportunities that might work for you. Consider some of the following ideas.

  • Cousins Subs, which has been in business since 1972, offers low investment and startup costs and a cash business with low recievables and little inventory. The company offers single and multi-unit development strategies (in case you want to open other locations in the area) and strong support systems for site selection, construction, training, marketing and opportunities, according to the Cousins  Subs website. All you need to do to get started is to take a quick pre-qualification survey
  • If you want something that will make your heart smile as well as being profitable, the senior-care market might be for you. Consider franchising with companies such as Visiting Angels, which focuses on in-home healthcare for senior citizens, or Stay at Home, a company that does in-home non-medical care so that senior citizens can stay in their own homes instead of going to nursing facilities.
  • If you’re into luxury, you might want to franchise with companies such as CruiseOne, which is one of the nation’s largest travel retailers, or Apricot Lane Boutique, which bills itself as “a truly unique fashion retails store.”
  • If you’re more of a hands-on kind of person, you might want to try franchising with companies like FixRim, which does mobile wheel repair, or Fleet Services International, which would give you your own low-overhead, exclusive fleet services dealership and is associated with stock car racer Richard Petty.
  • If you want to bring a whole new element to town, consider franchising with companies such as Gourmet Streets, which is a gourmet food truck franchise, or Fresh! Healthy Vending, another food truck franchise that focuses on healthy foods—an underserved market in the Hazelwood area.

These are just a few of the hundreds of franchise opportunities that exist. Check out Franchise.com’s Franchise and Business Opportunity Directory for more ideas.

Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Subscribe to our daily newsletter so you won’t miss a single part of this ongoing series! Next week, we'll discuss ideas for coming up with an original business concept.

Do you own your own business in Hazelwood? We want to share your story with the community! Contact Patch reporter Angela Atkinson at angela.atkinson@patch.com to arrange for an interview.

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