The Northern Illinois Franchise Association (NIFA), co-founded by Andrew Bleiman, Jamie and Lauren Izaks, recently hosted its 2019 June Event at Hotel Zachary in the Alma Room, situated across from Wrigley Field in Chicago. With almost 90 guests in attendance, the June Event featured a spirited discussion and panel, “An Inside Look at Private Equity Investment in Franchising,” as well as a fun networking opportunity during the Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals game.
Jon Shulkin, Partner at Valor Equity Partners, headlined the event and led an initial presentation on how Valor Equity Partners expanded into franchising via its investment in Sizzling Platter. Explaining how private equity has grown and become more popular in the franchising space, Jon shared what private equity firms look for in a business, including financials and the ability to expand. More specifically, these firms are attracted to franchising due to the ability to scale quickly, strengthen existing systems and processes while taking them to new markets.
Shulkin joined a group of other distinguished panelists after his presentation to dive deeper into the topic, tackling questions such as how private equity has impacted business, how to push for operating improvements with franchisors and the qualitative attributes that set brands apart and catch an investment firm’s attention. The panel included:
- Katie Sick, Atlantic Street Capital
- Chris Birkinshaw, CEO of Aloha Poke
- Adam Cummis, President and CE of LFP Restaurant Holdings
- Chris DeJong, President, CMO and Co-Founder of Big Blue Swim School
- Justin M. Klein, Esq., Partner at Marks & Klein, LLP
The June Event was sponsored by Shambliss Security, a provider of cybersecurity solutions, and Patriot Software, franchising’s leader in accounting and payroll software. Patriot Software provides fast, simple and affordable solutions. Paro, which provides financial expertise for every situation, company, and project, was the beverage sponsor. Paro’s highly curated network of finance professionals have years of experience and domain expertise helping businesses solve their unique problems.
In addition to the discussion, panelists and guests of the NIFA 2019 June Event enjoyed the unique opportunity to network during the exciting Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals game on the balcony and in the Alma Room. There were also plenty of hors d’oeuvres to choose from, including pasta, mini burgers and a delicious platter of cheese, bread and jellies, plus much more. We want to thank all the panelists and guests for helping us kick off the summer with an incredible event, and look forward to our next gathering!
These events allow NIFA to continue its work educating the Chicagoland community about the most pressing franchise-related topics of the day. Stay tuned for details on the upcoming 2019 August NIFA Luncheon, and visit www.northernilfranchise.org for more information about the organization.