Business: FRANCHISING: NEW POWER FOR 500,000 SMALL BUSINESSMEN

THE garish profusion of hamburger stands, fruit-juice parlors, pancake emporia and muffler-repair shops stretches for ten miles along Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. It could be called Franchise Row. Though hardly a landscape to captivate the eye, the phenomenon is increasingly common to cities and suburbs. Franchising—an arrangement by which local entrepreneurs lease their firm name, product and operating methods from large chains—has become one of the fastest-growing sectors of U.S. business. Through franchising, thousands of independent small businessmen have acquired improved techniques, new economic power and a greatly...

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