Builders Turn To Franchise Work In Weaker Market

Home Town Annapolis:

At the height of the real estate market a few years ago, Nick Mona made money building custom homes.
Now that the economy has weakened, the Annapolis area builder hopes to drive sales by developing franchises.

“It’s steady work,” said Mr. Mona, owner of Nick Mona Construction, a contractor that started work on an Auntie Anne’s Pretzels franchise at Westfield Annapolis mall this week. “We’re trying to be a little more commercial oriented.”

Despite weaker market conditions, experts said there’s still franchise building opportunities in an industry gaining steam across the United States.

Locally, there’s plenty of action: The Virginia-based Five Guys Burgers and Fries recently announced plans to expand into Hanover, Odenton and Crofton. And Foster’s Grille, a family friendly restaurant also serving up half-pound burgers and hand-cut fries, is targeting Maryland for expansion plans.

“We’re always entertaining offers from builders,” said Shawn Foster, founder of Foster’s Grille, which has a new location in Frederick County.

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