Franchise Expo Offers Options as Calgarians Look to Diversify

About 50 vendors hoped to engage with Calgarians at a franchise expo this weekend — and with the Alberta economy in a downturn, some say it’s an option to consider.

Joe Kazma, who is currently working in financial services, says sometimes it’s about making connections.

“Sometimes you don’t know what you will be interested in until you talk to the right person,” Kazma told CBC News.

“That in itself is so much more valuable than coming in with some preconceived notions — is having an open mind and talking to the right person, and who knows what the future holds for you.”

Joe Kazma

Joe Kazma said he hoped to make some connections at the expo. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

Kazma said the economy weighs heavily on his mind in terms of his future.

“When you see your family and friends going through a tough time, it causes you to think about what your future might hold. So you always want to set yourself up to try and only rely on yourself, not rely on your [employer] to feed your family,” he said.

A Pet Valu franchise spokesperson says Kazma is not alone.

“A lot people are looking for that next career in life, a change,” Jocelyn Attwood said.

Jocelyn Attwood

Vendor Jocelyn Attwood says a franchise may be a good option for people who have been laid off recently. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

“Sometimes it’s downsizing from their current position, sometimes it’s just something they have always wanted to do.”

She says for some people in industries like oil and gas, franchises could be a good transition.

“The economy plays a big part in all of this. Especially when certain careers are ended, some people are fortunate enough to be given packages and they are looking for ways to invest that money but also give themselves that second career,” she explained.

Connie McNaughton, an expo organizer, says some franchises can be a safer bet than going out on your own.

Calgary franchise expo

Dozens of people made their way through the expo over the weekend in Calgary. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

“Franchises are a great option for people who want to be in business for themselves but not by themselves. Known brands are much easier to get off the ground. They don’t fail as easily as a new business if they have got a brand name behind them,” McNaughton said.

She says they do 12 shows annually in Canada and another 15 in the United States.

Calgary franchise expo 2016

About 50 vendors hoped to connect with Calgarians at a franchise expo this weekend. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

“The people who are coming out to this show, with the economy being the way it is, are looking to secure their own future. If you are working for yourself and you are your own boss, there is probably a lot less chance you are going to fire yourself,” she said with a laugh.

Mohammad Yaseen is retired but looking to stay busy and possibly create opportunities for his adult children.

Mohammad Yaseen

While Mohammad Yaseen is retired, he is looking for opportunities to stay busy and maybe even create jobs for others. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

“It will keep me busy, and on top of that … you can produce jobs for other people, that is also very good,” Yaseen said.

He said he’s looking for something stable.

“I want to go into a food franchise,” he said.

“No matter what the circumstances are, people need to eat.”