Country Clutter Named #1 Gift Franchise, 4th Year in a Row
Vacaville, CA - Among franchise business leaders, there are just a few yet critical measurements that tell their business story and answer the questions: How is this franchise company doing? Where is it relative to its competitors? One of these annual report cards comes from the editorial staff of "Entrepreneur", a national magazine that touts itself as "the small business authority". The magazine's monthly audience of more than 2.1 million readers seems to indicate that the designation is well accepted.Annually for the past 23 years, Entrepreneur focuses a light on franchise business opportunities available in the U.S. and abroad. The
January 2003 edition is the latest of these reports. Among the results is the naming of a leader in the new category of Gifts & Flowers.
Country Clutter, a franchise business operated by Country Visions of Vacaville, California, is ranked #1 in Gifts & Flowers this year. Country Clutter received the #1 rating for three years in the category formerly known as Retail Gifts. The evaluation criteria includes a number of factors such as financial strength and stability, the system's growth rate, the number of years a company has been in business and the length of time it has
been franchising. Also considered are start-up costs for franchise owners, litigation history, percentage of franchise terminations, and whether the company
"Though good news is scarce in today's economy, thousands of franchisees have found steady success in franchising. And with many laid off from or quitting their corporate jobs, thousands more are lining up in hopes of finding their calling among the franchises you'll see in Entrepreneur's 23rd Annual Franchise 500.
"The initial Franchise 500 in 1980 was the first ranking of franchises in the industry. Though we've since noticed a smattering of imitators, Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 is still the best and most comprehensive rating of franchises in the world. Over the years, we have polished and perfected our ranking procedure, giving us a formula that accurately identifies today's top franchise opportunities for you." (Entrepreneur, 2002)
The Country Clutter franchise stores feature a range of product lines in the categories of gifts, collectibles, and home decor. Whereas many corporate stores sell volumes of low-priced, foreign-produced products, the Country Clutter customer appreciates the quality and classic American styling of recognized brand-name product lines. According to Country Visions' Chief Executive Officer, Ken Petersen, "We take the time to build relationships with our suppliers. We provide information about market trends and suggest new product ideas. This puts the Country Clutter stores in a priority position for new product introductions and to obtain and sell some of the harder-to- find and limited edition items – all competitive advantages."
But the qualities that took Country Clutter stores to the top of the list don't stop with products and inventories that meet consumer desires. The Country Visions organization that supports its 50 stores places emphasis on a philosophy of meeting or exceeding the expectations of its customers -- the franchise owners. According to Petersen, "We continue to expand and improve upon the business systems that support our franchises. Our growth is confirmation that our training, operational and marketing programs are working. But we also believe that good is not good enough. This is not a static organization." From all appearances, Country Visions is an organization poised for growth and capable of responding quickly to market trends -- where ever those trends may go for this retail category.
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