So, far, the company has locations in Arizona and Maryland and plans to open in Texas, California and, hopefully, South Florida.
“We think the authentic, traditional Mexican food will resonate very well in this market,” Mead said.
Overall, the number of franchise businesses in the United States is projected to grow by 1.4 percent in 2013, just short of the 1.5 percent growth of 2012, according to the IFA’s 2013 forecast report.
Job growth is expected to outpace other industries, with the number of franchise jobs expected to increase by 2 percent this year, down slightly from a gain of 2.1 percent in 2012.
“We expect the franchise sector to continue to do well in the industries where franchise businesses are concentrated, and outperform growth of most other industries and the economy as a whole,” Caldeira, of the IFA, said.
Among the fastest growing sectors are business services, commercial and residential services, and quick-service restaurants.
Instant Imprints, based in San Diego, is looking for an area developer in South Florida, with hopes of having more than 18 locations here, said Bryan Smith, senior vice president of franchise development. The cost of a franchise unit is $140,000, including training, build-out, equipment and advertising, with discounts for veterans.
Sloan’s Ice Cream, an ice cream, cake, cookies, candy and merchandise store with four company-owned locations in Palm Beach County, also wants to expand through franchising.
The family owned business, in operation since 1999, started franchising six months ago, and expects to open its first franchise in Miami-Dade this summer, said David Wild, director of franchising. It’s on the hunt for more franchisees for Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties, he said.
The total cost for opening a Sloan’s Ice Cream, which is known for its unusual flavors like “Mom’s Apple Pie and “Tracy’s Scrumptious Pretzel,” is $700,000 to $750,000, Wild said.
“We’re looking to expand in a lot of places, and Florida is No. 1,” he said. “We’re so close, so it makes it very easy to support, easy to supply, and we know the market very well.”
Other companies that say they are looking for franchisees in South Florida include Firehouse Subs, Mathnasium Learning Centers and Seniors Helping Seniors.
The key is finding the right fit for potential buyers like Jeff Webster from North Palm Beach, who was strolling the aisles Friday, searching for a new family venture.
“We have money to spend,” said Webster, who just sold a distribution business. “And we just have to find something to do with it.”