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Ben’s Barketplace - Interview with CEO, Sally Romero

After nearly 20 years in law enforcement state service, my husband and I venturedinto our passion, our dogs. Without any business experience I left a very rewarding career in state law enforcement and launched a business we both hadpassion for. With no road map to follow, the single rule we relied on aboveanything else, was that our store would never stock a product that we did notfully believe in. All food and treat ingredients are thoroughly examined andapproved before we allow anything in the store.

Wepride ourselves on customer service. We are extremely knowledgeable on ourproducts and the best ones to feed for specific pet needs and their ultimatehealth.

Over the years our advertisement has become our customer base. The best money can’tbuy! We believe an honest, unadulterated species correct meal, for our belovedpets, is the best remedy for every malady. By feeding them right and removingall of the poisons the industry subjects them to, we reveal a healthier petwith renewed longevity.

FranchiseExpo: What is Ben's Barketplace franchise opportunity all about?
Sally Romero: Everything about Ben's Barketplace® - from the food to the marketing to the franchise management – is about keeping it simple. No games or gimmicks. Bottom line, we build healthy dogs and cats utilizing the highest threshold nutritional food products available. We avoid anything that compromises their health in the process or our image. The pet industry enjoys a unique customer, a mute customer that cannot complain. Therefore we are their advocates, it is our responsibility to learn and understand exactly what is required for them to flourish and thrive! about Ben's Barketplace.

FE: Whois your ideal candidate for a Ben’s Barketplace franchise?
SR: Ben's Barketplace® actively seekshighly-qualified individuals to become franchisees. Prior business experience,coupled with personal financial qualifications, individual motivation, and atrack record of success are important factors in our evaluation process. Having the finances is a big part of the equation,but a genuine passion like ours is a must as well. If you don't, please seek adifferent franchise. Our franchise will not be for you!Youhave to be an honest, strong, hard-working, ethical individual, who respectsyourself and others. You've got to take specific, detailed, & disciplineddirection extremely well. You can't have a criminal history. You've got to lovelife and dogs and cats! Last, be excited to work harder than you ever have inyour life. It is a very rewarding business!

FE:  Whattype of training and support do you offer Ben’s Barketplace franchisees?
SR:  All new franchisees participate in a 5-week training program. This consists of 2 weeks of training and 3 weeks of real life management experience by way of our apprenticeship program in a franchised location. Once completed, franchisees receive regular updates to their training, including on-site reviews.

FE: What are some of the advantages in being a Ben’s Barketplace  franchisee?
SR:  Some franchisees would consider opening their own independent pet stores. However, they soon realize that our franchise system is due to a proven track record of growth, sustainability and the ability to negotiate favorable pricing from distributors.  The Ben's Barketplace® system gives franchisees a distinct brand and tremendous buying power.

Our customer consultations separate us from ANY competition. They would not have these resources if they were not a part of the Ben's Barketplace® system. Franchise storeowners also have confidence in knowing that if they have a question about a product, service, or system, their franchise support team is only a phone call away.  We will develop a strong relationship and pass on our knowledge from our decade of experience in the industry, in addition to nearly 20 years of experience maintaining the optimal health required for law enforcement K9's to perform at peak levels.

Our franchisees are confident that the Ben's Barketplace® system is secure in accessing and providing the necessary research into the most highly qualified product selection.  Ben's Barketplace® franchise systems is very rigid regarding product selection to insure and maintain the health and quality of life for pets.  This is our passion and this is our goal.

Our Ben's Barketplace® franchisee's feel like they have opened their own independent store with the benefits of a franchise system and the support they require.

FE: Are you a member of any Associations? 
SR:  IFA, VetFran

FE: Tell us a little about the pet market?

Our passion is to be the most health conscience and innovative pet supply retailer in America.  In doing so, our franchisees understand our faith and commitment to them. The health and longevity of customers’ pets fosters peace of mind in knowing that Ben’s Barketplace® is a reliable resource for healthy products for their pets.  This is the fastest growing section of the pet market. We take this responsibility seriously and provide the support necessary for our franchisees to grow their business by being a reliable resource for their customers.

FE:  How successful is your company today and what are yourfuture growth plans?
SR:  Ben’s Barketplace® continues to enjoy a 15% growth per year. We are targeting expansion into the western states, with goals set for controlled development in each state to ensure our franchisees are provided with the strongest support to achieve success no matter where they are located.

FE: What are your franchisees saying about the business?
SR: Ben’s Barketplace® has just recently been rewarded with the ability to franchise in western states. Our first level franchisees will enjoy the rewards of our franchise expansion and participate in our long-term goals and their ultimate success.

FE:  What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
SR: Show a genuine interest in a Ben's Barketplace®.  Schedule a phone call with us.  This will be an informational call to ascertain what you are seeking in a franchise and to become better acquainted with each other. We can then share with you the next step in process. This will help you with your due diligence and create transparency to ensure you are comfortable with your decision. During the Education Process you will learn more about the Ben's Barketplace® brand, the support we provide, and get a glimpse at some of the vendors we work with. During this process we also want to learn more about you to make sure you are the right fit for our brand as well. You will have the opportunity to speak directly to the Ben's Barketplace® family and get to know us better. We will have questions for you so we can ascertain whether you're the right fit for us.

FE:  In your opinion, why do you think that Ben’s Barketplace would be a great opportunity for someone? 
SR:  A Ben's Barketplace® franchise requires a lower initial franchisee investment than many other businesses. Because a Ben's Barketplace® franchise is not exceedingly complex to duplicate, and does not require a large staff or inordinate amount of equipment, our format delivers a higher yield per square foot through operating efficiencies, including lower product and equipment costs, and reduced labor. Whenever possible, we negotiate pricing arrangements with our suppliers on behalf of our franchisees. In many cases this allows our franchisees to benefit from volume discounts.