Shirin Behzadi, CEO of Home Franchise Concepts, says new owner JM Family is the right fit to support long-term growth.
Photo by Scott Witter
When private equity firm Trilantic North America acquired Home Franchise Concepts in late 2015 it was the first outside ownership for the parent of Budget Blinds. The ensuing three-and-a-half years brought the implementation of growth and marketing initiatives “at a dizzying speed,” says Shirin Behzadi, CEO of the company that also franchises Tailored Living, Concrete Craft and, most recently, AdvantaClean.
“It’s been not a three-a-half year marathon but a three-and-a-half year sprint,” says Behzadi of efforts that have included bringing HFC’s home services brands under one umbrella, creating cohesive branding and digital marketing platforms, and bolstering overall infrastructure. And now with a new ownership group, Behzadi has no intention of slowing down.
Trilantic announced this week the sale of its majority stake in HFC to JM Family Enterprises, a $16 billion Florida-based automotive company that’s one of the largest independent distributors of Toyota vehicles. The selection of JM Family “was really in collaboration with Trilantic,” says Behzadi.
“We were excited and energetic around the idea,” she continues, adding as HFC sought to further accelerate growth the conversation with Trilantic became one of, “So does it make sense at this juncture to find a new partner.”
While private equity ownership in franchising typically has an expiration date as firms ultimately aim to maximize profits, Behzadi notes the switch to JM Family isn’t a typical PE transaction. “This is a long-term investment, there’s no end in sight,” she says. “It gives us an ability to gauge where capital investments make the most sense” in the long term.
Though this is the first acquisition outside of the automotive industry for JM Family Enterprises, the company “understands franchising—a different kind of franchising but still franchising,” says Behzadi, as in addition to its Southeast Toyota Distributors, JM also a Lexus dealership and has a financial services group. “And clearly they’ve been able to grow a business over 50 years.” Plus, “we have the same core values, the giving back focus and they pride themselves on taking care of their franchise owners.”
“When I first met them I thought what great people—and that matters,” says Behzadi of her dealings with Brent Burns, president and CEO of JM Family, and the leadership team.
In an announcement of the acquisition Burns said, “We’re excited about what this alliance means for both companies. For JM Family, it’s a chance to grow our business, diversify our knowledge base and expand our capabilities through HFC’s proven franchise models. For HFC, it’s an opportunity for new resources and synergies that can take the franchisor’s four industry-leading retail brands to the next level.”
Of Trilantic, Behzadi calls the firm “fantastic” and says “they did everything they made a commitment to and then some,” including support for HFC to develop its own customer relationship management system. “We had wanted to do this and they were willing to make the capital investment,” she says.
HFC bought restoration services brand AdvantaClean earlier this year and intends to further expand its home services platform through more acquisitions.