Franchisees opt for multiple choice with Threshers stores

Group considers setting limit as mini-chains spring up under new operators

Thresher franchisees are building their own mini-chains under the off-licence's fascia by taking on several franchises at once.

So far Thresher has six franchisees with more than one shop, and another four are in the pipeline.

Head of franchise development Fyl Newington said the group may have to impose a cap if any of the subsidiary chains get too large. "At this point we haven't yet had that kind of challenge come through. When we first opened we imagined this would be a single owner-operator or two or three shop opportunity for single franchisees."

There are 83 franchise shops operating in the group and some 90 applications going through the legal process . Newington expects franchise numbers to reach 150 soon. Thresher's target is to convert 600 stores to franchise over three to four years, and Newington believes the process is on track.

"We have had some great feedback," he said. " We have had a second wave of people asking questions . Maybe they wanted to see the guys go through the process and see how they got on."

Of the franchisees with shops up and running, 33 were existing Thresher workers and 27 external candidates. Twenty-six internal and 63 external candidates are going through the application process.

Meet the multiple franchisees

Sam Maddison, who used to run his own utilities business, is Thresher's 50th franchisee. He opened his first shop in Hove, East Sussex, last month and, with another ready to go live very soon, four under offer and more in the pipeline, could end up with a chain of nine franchises.

He said: "I'd not considered franchising before but the Threshers offer was unique. Unlike other franchise models which are based on hypothetical projections, I could actually see how the stores have been trading and work the numbers far more accurately."

Hazel Cookson, of Timperley in Cheshire, was a Threshers branch manager and one of the first franchisees to go live. Her second shop is due to convert to a franchise very soon.

She said: "Having a second store isn't much more effort than having the first and there are economies of scale to be made."