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Franchise Interview
Interview Date:  9/17/2008
Franchise Interview With Larry Kyle, President, Parcel Plus Franchise

Q: What is the single best reason you can give someone for investing in your franchise?

A: Parcel Plus: A Parcel Plus franchise provides an opportunity for a person to become part of the local business community at an affordable price, adding products and services as the market dictates. The typical Parcel Plus offers a full range of mailing, packaging and worldwide shipping services, private mailbox rental, copy, fax, and notary services, business and social stationery, business cards and rubber stamps – something for everyone, whether it is B2B or B2C.

Q: You have a great concept. Tell us a little bit how your company got started?

A: Parcel Plus: Parcel Plus was founded in 1986, with the first franchise granted in 1988. ICED, the parent company for a number of franchise systems, purchased Parcel Plus in 2000, and integrated the company in the family of franchises housed on a 100 acre campus just northwest of Houston.

Q: Obviously, franchise ownership is not for everyone. What qualities do you look for in an ideal candidate? What is really going to make someone successful in this business?

A: Parcel Plus: The ideal candidate should have good communication and people shills, be comfortable networking in the community and have marketing or sales experience.

Q: Let’s say you are a new franchisee. You have a lot to do and only so many hours in the day. Where would you focus your energies?

A: Parcel Plus: I would spend most of my time promoting my business in the marketplace – calling on businesses that could use my services, and frequenting networking events that small-business owners attend, whether brick and mortar businesses or home-based businesses.

Q: Competition is always an issue. What separates your franchise from other franchise systems? What do you offer a prospective franchisee that others don’t?

A: Parcel Plus: We are not tied to one shipper; our Parcel Plus centers can offer the most competitive services that will best fit a client’s needs.

Q: Like all franchise systems, you have franchise owners that have “hit the ball out of the park” while others are struggling. What do you do for a struggling franchise owner to help get them to where they want/need to be?

A: Parcel Plus: Focus group participation, workshops and seminars as well as ongoing marketing materials. We also provide one-on-one assistance to address an owner’s specific issues.

Q: What are the biggest challenges franchise owners face and what is your company doing to address them?

A: Parcel Plus: Understanding the business that they are in and developing a marketing program to address the needs in their local business environment. We offer a marketing program that includes both business to business mailings as well as residential mailings. We also offer call center appointments to schedule calls on local business – a real time-saver for busy owners.

Q: Starting a franchise business, like any business, requires a lot of hard work. If it were easy, everyone would do it. What do you tell prospective franchisees to help them have realistic expectations before going into this business?

A: Parcel Plus: Understand the market in your area, do extensive research on the completion and understand that if you do not like or intend to market that you will most likely not succeed.

Q: Where do you see your company going over the next few years? Growth? New services? Changes in Operations? Big shifts in the marketplace?

A: Parcel Plus: Our Kwik Kopy Business Center brand, one of the members of our ICED family, is dual-branded with a Parcel Plus component. As we grow the Kwik Kopy Business Center brand, our Parcel Plus numbers will naturally increase. The top producers in Parcel Plus also have the opportunity to rebrand to a Kwik Kopy Business Center if they wish.

About Larry Kyle - President:
Larry Kyle joined ICED in 1997 after a 29-year career with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. As Director of Industry for the TDCJ, Larry had overall responsibility for 52 statewide cost centers that were involved in manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, data services and printing... He quickly moved up to Director of Operations, then Vice President before making the transition in May 2001 to the Operations Department for the print/copy franchises where he coordinated many of the support activities for our centers. In September 2006, Larry was named president of Kwik Kopy Printing, The Ink Well, Franklin’s, and AWT, where he directs the support activities.

If you ever wondered who produced the Texas license plates, that was under Larry’s watch. The windshield registration stickers? Larry. How about all the furniture used in the Texas prison system? Or the manufacture and printing of cardboard boxes? That’s right – Larry.

With over 500 employees in his department, Larry has handled just about every issue that might be handled by a center owner, whether it be operational, financial analysis, budgeting constraints, or personnel matters. He also had to learn how to evaluate all the possibilities in order to make the best business decision while at the same time keeping his division profitable.

For instance, in selecting equipment for the state print shop, Larry and his staff chose Heidelberg presses for their quality and ruggedness. Larry was then involved when the Heidelberg technicians came in to train his people. Larry was also involved in extensive data digitalization, supplying, among others, the Texas Highway Department with a complete data conversion. Larry’s business experience certainly provides the qualifications to direct the activities designed to support and grow our centers, and he looks forward to the daily challenges.

Larry is married and has one adult daughter. He loves anything to do with the outdoors, particularly his extensive rose beds featuring hybrid teas. The ladies at Northwest Forest also enjoy Larry’s roses, as he’s known for bringing armloads of the fragrant blooms and distributing them around the building.