Gwynn Up to Bat at Church's Plate
Hocker, Cliff, Black Enterprise
Padres' outfielder opens 100 chicken restaurants
At bat, Tony Gwynn is famous for being able to hit whatever ball the pitcher throws at him. As he takes his first swings at a follow-up career, the San Diego Padres outfielder hopes to slam into similar success with the entrepreneurial opportunities that are speeding his way.
Over the next 15 years, Gwynn Sports, the company solely owned by Tony Gwynn and his wife, Alicia, will build 100 new Church's Chicken restaurants from San Diego to Bakersfield, California. Ramping up to build about seven stores per year, five locations will be up and running by the end of 2001.
Fewer than 10 individual black sports figures or entertainers are Church's franchisees, but the company's radar is now focused on these celebrities. "We're aggressively looking for [celebrities and sports figures] to expose them to this opportunity," says Hannibal Myers, Church's vice president of new business development.
Church's prepares these newcomers to the restaurant industry with its "Turnkey Program." For a fee, Church's works with the franchisee to locate ideal restaurant sites. Then Church's obtains permits, acts as general contractor, and equips the facility. In a closing similar to that held when a home is bought, the franchisee then receives the keys to the restaurant. …