Like many new small-business owners, Cathy Deano knew nothing about franchising when she and a partner launched a series of bring-your-own-wine painting classes in Mandeville, La., four years ago. Yet from the moment Corkâ€™n Canvas opened its doors, the business started getting offers from enthusiastic clients who wanted to buy into the concept and host their own classes.
Deano, 57, the subject of SmartMoneyâ€™s latest Take Two column on 50-plus small-business owners, says sheâ€™s as surprised as anyone that the business has branched out into 44 up-and-running locations, with 10 more in the works. A career fundraiser who heads a local art association, Deano says the initial concept was less about founding a fast-growing brand than creating a fun social event with fundraising potential for community needs.
Two years after flood waters from Hurricane Katrina ended her home-based catering service, Deano, along with her partner, Renee Maloney, came up with an idea of hosting painting classes led by local artists where participants were invited to bring wine and snacks.