Read more about the stories of the local business owners this harmful legislative trend will affect. These powerful stories serve as inspiration for why it is important to help our country’s local businesses preserve their ability to start, manage and grow their business.

January 28, 2023

Alex Johnson – Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon, California

Alex’s parents ventured into the franchising world to teach their four sons a good work ethic and morals – and it worked. Now, Alex is thriving in his parents’ footsteps as a franchisee of Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon.

For many of his employees, working at Auntie Anne’s or Cinnabon is their first job. As a local franchise, they pull their workforce from the community, and have provided jobs to hundreds of people, ranging from high school students to people who have immigrated to the U.S. Just as his parents did, Alex realizes the opportunity of having employees new to the workforce, and he prioritizes teaching his employees soft skills, and positions them for long-term success.

After hearing about legislation that could pose a threat to both his franchise and his employees, Alex insisted on lending his voice to highlight how local franchises are cornerstones of their community, and the important role they play in teaching foundational skills that last a lifetime.

January 28, 2023

Sanna Shere – Burger King, California

Sanna Shere’s father immigrated to America in 1978 with only $5 in his pocket, chasing the American dream of owning a business. After a decade of hard work, that dream became a reality, and he invested every penny he had into opening his first Burger King location in Santa Ana, California.

Their Burger King location was more than a business, it was part of their family. When they could not afford family vacations, they would go to their Burger King and play on the playground and enjoy a milkshake. Their business was the foundation of her childhood.

While Sanna was pursuing her own career in the corporate world, her fathers’ health declined, and she moved home to take over the family business. What started as one location has now expanded into 21 locations throughout southern California—and the foundation of communities across the region.

Sanna is passionate about providing members of her community with the same sense of home she felt growing up. From routine coffee customers to church gatherings, she sees her businesses becoming a place of togetherness within communities—which is why her mission to protect franchising remains steadfast. When Sanna became aware of burdensome legislation that could have devastating impacts on the industry, she knew she wanted to raise her voice to show how pivotal franchises are in their communities.

January 28, 2023

Tamra Kennedy – Taco Johns, Minnesota

In 1984, Tamra found a job as a secretary for a gentleman that owned two franchise restaurants —Taco John’s and Burger King. In 1990, after years of hard work and a mission to understand the industry, Tamra was asked to lead their St. Paul office, and take over the business. Now, Tamra owns and operates seven restaurants throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. She views each of her seven franchises as an opportunity to invest in people, and her community.

“Giving back to our community is always going to mean something very special. We really believe that the very best contribution we give to our community is a beginning place of employment for young people.”

When Tamra learned of potential legislation that will harm and complicate the franchising industry, she wanted to share her story and showcase that franchises are a way to employ countless people and provide them with the skills they need to be valuable in the workforce.

January 28, 2023

Damon Dunn – Dunkin, Washington

Damon Dunn grew up in Texas living with a family of 10 in a three-bedroom trailer. Now, he is a Stanford graduate that owns five Dunkin’s in the Pacific Northwest. He has paved a successful path for himself based on his principles of working hard and setting yourself apart.

In the socioeconomically challenged community Damon was raised in, he was not exposed to business mindsets. His understanding of the lack of information in communities throughout the country is why he started the Long Beach College Preparatory Academy, working to find students with high academic potential and help them achieve their dream of attending a competitive four-year college, setting higher expectations for themselves that will help build a lifetime of opportunities. Now, Damon intentionally goes back into low-income areas and provides knowledge, educational opportunities, and jobs for the community.

“The reason I want to go back into low-income communities is I want to lift the expectations of young people, particularly young people that are in impoverished communities or lower income communities, because they have more potential than what they are aware of. And if their expectations are not ever lifted, then they could go on believing that is par for the course,” Damon says.

Damon understands that stories like this are not often top of mind when lawmakers are considering legislation that take aim at the franchise model – and subsequently hinder a franchise’s ability to positively impact their workforce. He feels strongly that now more than ever, we need to bolster franchises and encourage policies that enable them to continue uplifting their communities.

January 28, 2023

Steven & Peggy Johns – Tropical Smoothie Café, Texas

Steven and Peggy Johns went from serving their nation to serving the veterans in their community. Meeting at Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas, both are veterans of the Gulf War. Steven retired as a Chief Petty Officer, and Peggy retired from the Navy as a Military Police Officer.

While in the Navy, they both learned invaluable skills that apply seamlessly to franchising—how to lead, the value of honesty, and how to serve others. Now, in their new profession, they take pride in offering opportunities to their community, but especially veterans, military spouses, and children of servicemembers.

Steven and Peggy are the shining example of what it looks like to be an active member of your community, and they use franchising as the source. For this reason, they want to ensure legislators understand that any policy seeking to disrupt the franchise model can have serious unintended consequences.