Small Business: Profits for Mom & Pop

As it opened its sooth store last week, a coast-to-coast chain known as McDonald's Hamburgers was busily changing the neon signs that have long recorded how many million hamburgers it has sold. Now the signs will flash the figures in billions, a success reflecting the bustling U.S. phenomenon of which McDonald is an example: franchising. The number of franchised "Mom and Pop shops"—small businesses that rent their name, product, design and sales methods from big franchisers—has grown to an estimated 100,000, which this year will take in more than $1 billion. Eleven...

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