GREAT AMERICAN DEALS SET TO LEAP ACROSS STATE BORDERS

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Mark-Vannuki

You may not have heard of Great American Deals yet, but you most certainly know their brand ambassador.

A quick trip to Great American Deals’ website will bring you face to face with well-known TV personality Pat Sajak, who, in addition to being the brand ambassador, is the founder of the company. “Currently, Great American Deals is only in communities in southern California, but it’s set to make the leap across state borders soon,” Director of Franchising and Chief Operations Officer for the company Mark Vannuki said from Deals’ head office in Beverly Hills.

In a nutshell, Great American Deals is a company that offers hyper-local daily deals. Started about five years ago, the company took its time perfecting its business model in The Conejo Valley, satellite city of Los Angeles, and has been steadily growing in other similar cities since the beginning of this year when the company started franchising.

Essentially, local businesses sign up to make great offers to locals, which brings them business. But, there’s more to it than just that. Great American Deals also incorporates giving back to the community into its business model, meaning with every deal done through the site, the customer wins because they get a great deal, the merchant wins because they get business and the community wins because a portion of the money from every deal goes to a local school or charitable organization.

“We take a very, very community oriented and very, very localized approach to this industry,” Vannuki said.

It’s a way to introduce new customers to local businesses in a risk-free way, he pointed out. The revenue generated is split between the merchant, the franchisee and the franchisor, with the aforementioned portion going to a local cause.

Being localized like this means that Great American Deals has much better rates of customer retention than its competitors because most customers are local and enjoy supporting local businesses when they can.

The company has just started its national expansion and is pushing into Colorado and other states in the mid-west and across the eastern seaboard, meaning you might just see a Great American Deals site popping up in your area soon.The company currently has 11 franchisees and will probably have close to 30 by the end of this year.

What makes a good franchisee?

“A good Great American Deals franchisee will be community conscious,” Vannuki said. “Typically, franchisees will be a team of two or three people who will operate one franchise. It’s imperative that at least one of the team members be a woman,” he added. Great American Deals has franchisee teams who are husband and wife, brother and sister, or groups of soccer moms. They’ve usually lived in their area for a while, they usually have children, and, above all else, they really care about their community and are highly social individuals who are involved in their community.

Why is there a need for this business?

While everyone loves a great deal and there are a few big daily deal sites out there, none of them are as localized as Great American Deals and none of them are franchisable like Deals is.“We derive our success from knowing a community and an area and what we call ‘hidden gem’ businesses better than the bigger daily deal sites out there,” Vannuki explained.

“Great American Deals is also a way for someone to create a flexible work schedule for themselves and create a new lifestyle for themselves. There is virtually no ceiling on how much a person can make, as long as they are willing to put in the work,” the Franchising Manager said.

What support do franchisees get?

Franchisees can look into franchising opportunities at the company’s website franchising.greatamericandeals.com.

Once they are approved, they go through an intense three-day training program that takes place at the company’s headquarters in Beverly Hills.“However,” Vannuki said, “for Great American Deals, it’s not just about finding new franchisees, it’s about finding the right cities to operate in too.

“We create a database with our franchises,” he said. “We put a lot of work and analysis into developing the right territory.”

The company looks at merchant density in a city and looks for specific types of cities. The cities Great American Deals are most interested in getting into are 250,000 -300,000 people in population and have a footprint that is about a 20 minute drive from one end to another.

Generally, they will either be a mid-size standalone city or a satellite city on the outskirts of a metropolis.

Once the training period is over for franchisees, Great American Deals also provides them a lot of corporate, technical and public relations support. Seeing as how the company is internet-based,the technological support is especially important.

One technological innovation that the company boasts is its Deal Alert, which gets blasted out via its smartphone app.

“If a bowling alley is having a slow night,” Vannuki said as an example, “it can create a deal alert saying bowling is half-price for the next two hours and Great American Deals will send it to all the local customers in that bowling alley’s area. These Deal Alerts are great for drumming up business quickly by offering time-sensitive deals.” Being internet-based also keeps startupcosts down. Franchisees can start a franchise for about $35,000 and the company recommends that franchisees spend an addition $25,000 – $30,000 in marketing. A lot of investment goes into creating a database of potential customers

within their territories.

“The highly localized daily deals business model is here to stay,” Vannuki said, “with a focus on giving back to the community.” And if you don’t believe him, you can always take Pat Sajak’s word for it. For more information visit: www.franchising.greatamericandeals.com