With bad economy comes great opportunity…Franchise opportunities attracting individuals from various, non-traditional backgrounds…

MANCHESTER, MD…

Traditional career paths have become more of an obstacle course. The corporate ladder has many broken rungs. In the Gulf Coast region, ActionCOACH is seeing many new faces turning to franchising as an alternative venture and adventure.

“You’d think the worst economic times since the Great Depression would discourage budding entrepreneurs from going into business on their own,” said Karen Boyd, Global Master Licensee for ActionCOACH’s Gulf Atlantic region. “Yet with corporate layoffs, record unemployment rates, shrinking nest eggs and a number of other variables, many entrepreneurs are seeking franchises as a safer track to owning their own business—and that’s attracting franchise owners from a variety of backgrounds.

As the number one business coaching firm in the world, ActionCOACH has a slogan: Recession? What Recession, I have an ActionCOACH. The slogan serves not to deny the current tough economic times but to acknowledge the tremendous opportunities available in the current market—particularly if you’re looking to own your own business.

Some of the areas attracting new franchise owners include:

·         Corporate casualties and refugees

·         Seniors and Retirees

·         Working mothers

·         Veterans

·         Recent college graduates

Dan Zimanski, an ActionCOACH business coach based in Mandeville, Louisiana loved his job with Oreck until his world was literally turned upside down with Hurricane Katrina. “Oreck’s two main bases of operation were New Orleans and Long Beach, Mississippi—two places hit hardest by Katrina,” said Zimanski.

The company made a heroic effort to get back on the ground and even enjoyed its best year in 2006. The potential for another Katrina, however, played a deciding factor in the company moving its headquarters to Tennessee. Newly married with three stepchildren, Zimanski left the company he loved rather relocating.

“I’ve moved around quite a bit during my career and ActionCOACH  provided the opportunity to do something that I enjoy—coach small business owners—but to stay in a community that my family and I love and call home, particularly after Katrina,” said Zimanski.

Mark Raciappa, ActionCOACH franchise owner in Tallahassee, Florida, represents another new face of franchising: those who choose franchising as a lifestyle option.

Raciappa literally grew up in the supermarket business. Starting as a bagger as teen, he went on to manage a supermarket and eventually owned and operated his own. Tired of working six or even seven days a week, Raciappa put his market up for sale and began searching for a franchise opportunity. FranChoice, a franchise “matchmaking” company, directed him to ActionCOACH in 2006 and Raciappa has not looked back.

“Part of my decision to get out of the supermarket business was lifestyle, I wanted to be able to enjoy my weekends and holidays,” said Raciappa. “The other was doing something to help people. At ActionCOACH, we’re in the business of helping people. In the current economy, the real challenge is helping the small business owner see the great opportunities for success that are out there.

ActionCOACH is the world’s #1 business coaching firm and executive coaching firm. Operating

in 26 countries, the franchise has more than 1,000 offices around the world. That includes locations in the six states (and Washington DC) that make up the Gulf Atlantic region: Alabama (Pelham); Delaware; Florida (Coral Gables, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, North Miami, Palm Harbor, Pensacola Beach and Tallahassee); Louisiana (Baton Route, Loranger, Mandeville, New Orleans and Shreveport); Maryland (Baltimore, Freeland, Fallston, Manchester, Rockland, Silver Spring); and Mississippi (Madison).

Founded in 1993, the ActionCOACH has received numerous awards including Fastest Growing Franchise, Franchisee Satisfaction, Best Overall Company and has been named the number one business coaching franchise for more than five years running.

To learn more about ActionCOACH, contact Karen Boyd, www.karenboyd.actioncoach.comwww.karenboyd.actioncoach.com, (410) 374-3536.

Dreaming of a green Christmas

CHICAGO, GURNEE, HOFFMAN ESTATES, NAPERVILLE, TINLEY PARK, IL …

Bing Crosby had a white one. Elvis was blue. And while a “green” Christmas might not translate into song lyrics as well as those other colors, celebrating the holiday season in a greener, more environmentally friendly way is certainly desirable. As the leading home improvement and furnishing club, DirectBuy, with several locations in greater Chicago, has some helpful tips on planning greener holiday celebrations.

“The holidays are a great time of year to get together with family and friends, but the amount of waste is really astounding,” said Jeremy Vest, owner of DirectBuy of DuPage County.

How much waste? Consider this: More than one million greeting cards are thrown away every year and the lights used to decorate your home produce enough carbon dioxide to inflate 12 balloons. Worse yet, more than 51 miles of wrapping paper finds itself used only once and then thrown away.

So, how can you have a greener holiday season? Follow these helpful holiday tips to ensure successful, environmentally friendly festivities:

  • Use LED light instead of your classic holiday lights, which last 80 to 90 percent longer. The price for strands of LED lights are roughly the same as those classic lights. If everyone switched to LEDs in their household, the savings alone would be enough to power 200,000 homes for an entire year.
  • Turn off your holiday lights and electronic decorations and devices when not in use. Even in standby mode these items can consume 15 percent of your household’s electricity.
  • Use real glasses and dishes instead of disposable ones for your holiday party. Also, go with cloth tablecloths instead of throwaways.
  • Send holiday e-cards online instead of mailing paper versions. Not only is this a more environmentally friendly approach, but you’ll also save a little change in postage. You can also create an online photo album yourself and circulate the link to family and friends to create that personal touch.
  • Give experiential presents. This is a good idea if you’re not sure what to get someone and fear your gift may simply be stored instead of used. By gifting your loved ones with horseback riding lessons, a massage, or even a gift certificate for a class at their local continuing education facility you’ll stand out among the crowd plus help everyone live a little greener.
  •  Re-use your grocery bags or posters from old magazines by decorating them for use as wrapping paper. If that’s a little too work-intensive, by performing a simple online search you can quickly purchase recycled wrapping paper that can be delivered to your home quickly.
  • Buy a real tree this year. Surprised we’re suggesting cutting down trees to stay green? Don’t be. Artificial trees are petroleum-based and non-biodegradable, and the manufacturing process includes metal and PVC derivatives, the by-products of which can cause harm to both humans and the environment. If you don’t have room for a full-size, farm-grown tree, buy a potted version that you can later plant in your garden and possibly re-use next year.

“The holidays really are a time for us to reflect back on the year and be grateful for the many gifts we do have. One of those gifts is the very earth we live on,” said I.J. Sell, owner of DirectBuy of Tinely Park. “By following just a few of these green suggestions, you can reduce your carbon imprint and, perhaps, even enjoy a more memorable holiday season knowing you’re making your corner of the world a little greener.”

For more than 38 years, DirectBuy clubs have offered members the opportunity to enjoy enormous savings on home furnishings, home improvement items, entertainment and outdoor products, flooring and accessories by purchasing from over 700 brand-name manufacturers and their authorized suppliers. With several convenient locations in greater Chicago (Chicago, Gurnee, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, and Tinley Park), consumers can enjoy a comfortable, country-club setting, where they finally have the financial control of buying direct.

For more information on a DirectBuy membership, you can visit http://www.directbuycares.com.

About DirectBuy

Since 1971, DirectBuy has helped hundreds of thousands of families enjoy a better quality of life, enabling them to buy directly from more than 700 manufacturers and their authorized suppliers. Buying direct makes members’ hard-earned money go much further, while having the selection and choice not available at any retail store. Access to confidential prices, local suppliers, and unparalleled selection helps make members’ dream projects a reality. The DirectBuy clubs serving the greater Chicago area are part of more than 160 locations throughout North America.

Consumers interested in becoming members may obtain a Visitor’s Pass to attend an Open House by visiting http://www.directbuycares.com

Locations of the DirectBuy clubs serving greater Chicago area: DirectBuy of Hoffman Estates, 2200 Stonington Ave Ste. 150, Hoffman Estates, IL; DirectBuy of Chicago North, 6325 North Avondale Ste. 110, Chicago, IL; DirectBuy of DuPage County, 1864 High Grove Lane Ste. 124, Naperville, IL; DirectBuy of Lake County, 3900 Washington Street, Gurnee, IL; and DirectBuy of Tinley Park, 18400 S. 76th Avenue Ste. B, Tinley Park, IL.

To learn more about the superior value and benefits of a DirectBuy membership, visit www.directbuycares.com.

Away from home or home alone, DirectBuy of Buffalo helps burglar-proof your house for the holidays

CHEEKTOWAGA, NY … 

Think of holiday burglars and movie fans hearken back to the bungling thieves in the movie Home Alone. It’s safe to say that most burglars are a bit smarter than the ones tormented by MacCaulay Culkin. DirectBuy of Buffalo, the leading home improvement and furnishing club, has some helpful tips on protecting your home for this holiday season and beyond.

 

“Gifts under the tree and additional vehicles in the driveway belonging to guests—some perhaps from out-of-state—present added incentive for thieves,” said Mark Klinger, owner of DirectBuy of Buffalo. “There’s even more opportunity if you happen to go away for the holidays. By following some simple steps, you can safeguard your home against potential break-ins.”

 

Some hints to ensure a safe, happy holiday season include:

 

  • Purchase an alarm system and advertise that fact on your exterior windows and doors.
  • Secure your doors and windows at all times, particularly at night.
  • Keep your window shades drawn, particularly near your Christmas tree. Gifts visible from street level provide huge temptation to thieves who may consider smashing the window to grab your packages.
  • Headed out of town for the holidays? Utilize lighting timers for both interior and exterior lights to ensure it appears to outsiders that someone is still at home.
  • After Christmas Day, don’t pile up empty gift boxes on the street for the garbage man, which simply informs burglars of the expensive gifts awaiting them inside your home.
  • Keep your homeowners insurance policy up-to-date.  

 

“Unfortunately, we don’t all possess the guile of Home Alone’s Kevin McCallister. It’s probably better and safer that way,” said Klinger. “By taking the above precautions, you can provide enough of a deterrent so that thieves leave your home alone.”

 

DirectBuy offers alarm systems and other items needed to protect your home during the holidays, all at direct insider prices. In addition, each DirectBuy club employs product specialists and designers who can help members select the system that works best for their home.

 

For over 38 years, DirectBuy has helped consumers enjoy enormous savings on home furnishings, home improvement items, entertainment and outdoor products, and accessories, by providing an avenue to purchase directly from the manufacturer. Conveniently located at 4950 Genesee Street in Cheektowaga, New York, DirectBuy offers members a comfortable setting where they finally have the financial control of buying direct.

 

For more information on a DirectBuy membership, you can call 716-684-1400 or visit www.directbuycares.com.

 

About DirectBuy

Since 1971, DirectBuy has helped hundreds of thousands of families enjoy a better quality of life, enabling them to buy directly from more than 700 manufacturers and their authorized suppliers. Buying direct makes members’ hard-earned money to go much further, while having the selection and choice not available at any retail store. DirectBuy has been serving the greater Buffalo area since 2005. Access to confidential prices, local suppliers, and unparalleled selection helps make members’ dream projects a reality.   DirectBuy of Buffalo is one of more than 160 DirectBuy locations throughout North America.

 

Consumers interested in becoming members may obtain a Visitor’s Pass to attend an Open House by contacting DirectBuy at 716-684-1400, or visiting www.DirectBuy-Buffalo.com

 

To learn more about the superior value and benefits of a DirectBuy membership, visit www.directbuycares.com.

Marshfield Polar Express Needs Sponsors

The Boys and Girls Club of Marshfield will hold their second annual Marshfield Polar Express train ride event on December 12th and they are looking for additional sponsors.

The one-day event will be held on the Kingston commuter rail and four magical train rides are scheduled during the course of the day. The Boys and Girls Club has already sold 1,000 tickets and Train Ride 3 is sold out.

Tickets are selling fast and it is guaranteed to be another great community event. Sponsors include Tiny & Sons Glass, Rockland Trust, Rockland Federal Credit Union and Vertex.

Sponsors start as low as $500 and there are plenty of other opportunities to get involved and to support this family event.

To sponsor this event please contact Shawn Costa, (781) 834-2582 or email shawnc@marshfieldboysandgirlsclub.com

To purchase tickets visit www.marshfieldpolarexpress.com.

About the Boys and Girls Club

The Boys and Girls Club of Marshfield’s purpose is to establish a safe haven for recreation, which includes a variety of supervised activities for greater than 4,000 youth (between the ages of 6 to 18 years old) within the town. The Boys and Girls Club of Marshfield has five Core Areas: Character and Leadership; Education and Career; Health, Sport Fitness Recreation and Life Skills; The Arts; and Technology. These Core Areas serve as the foundation for all programming.

As a privately-funded, non-profit organization, the Boys and Girls Club of Marshfield relies tremendously on the generous philanthropic support of individuals.  Financial gifts assist in providing the financial strength necessary to continue the club’s mission “to enable and inspire all young people to realize their full potential as productive and responsible citizens, as well as become tomorrow’s capable leaders.”

For more information about the Boys and Girls Club of Marshfield, please contact (781) 834-CLUB (2582) or visit the website at MarshfieldBoysAndGirlsClub.com or write to the club at P.O. Box 311, Marshfield, MA 02050.

Massachusetts Association of Buyer Agents Outlines the Home Buyer Credit Extension & Expansion for buyers

The Massachusetts Association of Buyer Agents (MABA) is relieved that the Home Buyer Tax Credit legislation, which provides a maximum $8,000 tax credit to first time home buyers, has been signed and the deadline extended through April 30, 2010.

Now, first time home buyers who are in the process of purchasing a home don’t have the November 30, 2009 deadline hanging over them. It will also enable even more first time buyers to take advantage of the program over the next several months.

Due to a provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, taxpayers who have not owned a primary residence in at least three years time are considered “first time home buyers” and are eligible for a tax credit of up to 10 percent of a home’s purchase price (maximum $8,000).

The legislation has not only been extended, but expanded to include more buyers. A provision for homeowners who have lived in the same house for five consecutive years and are purchasing a new home meeting the remaining guidelines has also been added to the act. Those home purchasers may be entitled to a credit of up to $6,500.

In addition to the tax credits, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is allowing first time home buyers to use their tax credit towards a down payment or closing costs on the new purchase home.

“The Home Buyer credit program is ideal because the tax credit that the home buyer receives will not have to be repaid and may be used to purchase a home. Essentially, the program has stimulated the market to a point where home sales are at the highest level in over two years. It has helped many Americans reach their dream of owning a home,” explained John Karcher, president of MABA. “We are absolutely thrilled that it has been extended to the Spring.”

About the Massachusetts Association of Buyer Agents (MABA)

The Massachusetts Association of Buyer Agents (MABA) is a unique organization comprised of agents and brokers throughout the state who are committed to protecting home buyers. Founded in 1991, MABA is a non-profit organization recognized nationwide for its efforts to educate licensees and consumers about agency issues. The organization is self-regulated and every member must take a pledge of undivided loyalty to the buyer-client; representing the buyer-client using a higher standard of practice than is required.

MABA is comprised of 55 members, and is currently accepting new members. MABA is dedicated to providing quality, fiduciary-level services to home buyers and specializes in working to save buyers time and money, as well as looking out for the buyer client’s interests in the real estate transaction. MABA members never represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction and they never ask a buyer client to waive his/her right to full buyer representation. They are serious about due diligence and will inquire about non-disclosed property information.

For more information, visit the website at www.MassBuyerAgents.com or contact 1-800-935-MABA (6222).