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ORLANDO — Former International Franchise Association chairman James H. Amos Jr., CFE, and Tasti D-Lite LLC chairman and chief executive officer, was inducted into the IFA Hall of Fame during the association’s 52nd Annual Convention.
IFA Chairman Jack Earle, managing partner of Earle Enterprises LP and a multi-unit franchisee of McDonald’s said, “Jim’s sage advice and dedication to the franchise industry is built on solid experience as a successful industry leader and is reflected in his willingness to serve IFA in a variety of capacities.”
The Hall of Fame Award, established in 1979, is presented each year to an IFA member who “exemplifies the best of franchising and has made significant contributions to the advancement of franchising and franchising community.” The association chose Amos not only for his contributions to IFA franchisors and in mentoring emerging franchise leaders, but also for his commitment to help veterans to invest in a franchise. Amos has been involved in VetFran, an IFA program designed to assist returning military veterans in buying franchises from franchisor members. The association emphasizes that “he served two combat tours in Vietnam and received 12 decorations, including the Purple Heart and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.”
Amos’ controversies and discrepancies
In addition to the many attributes listed in presenting Amos with the Hall of Fame honor, IFA touts that its past chairman also serves as “chairman of Agile Pursuits Franchising, Inc.,” the franchising arm of Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG). But Ross Holthouse, external Relations Manager of P&G FutureWorks confirmed to Blue MauMau that Amos is only the chairman of their franchise advisory board, and has never held a leadership position within the internal organization or any of P&G’s businesses. “His role is in a consulting and advisory capacity as an external franchising expert and seasoned industry veteran,” Holthouse explained.
IFA also notes that Amos is the author of three “bestsellers” including the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Franchising. But on the ranks of Amazon.com’s Best Sellers, his book of Idiot’s Guide is ranked #445,313 in the book category. However, it is listed among the top twenty percent in the sleepy franchise category (#16 among 100). His other two books are ranked below a million.
The association publicizes that Amos was chairman emeritus of Mail Boxes Etc. The IFA declares, “Under Amos’ leadership as chairman and CEO, Mail Boxes Etc. became the world’s largest and fastest growing franchisor of retail business, communication and postal service centers.”
But as Amos orchestrated the sale of MBE to United Parcel Service, subsequently renaming the system as The UPS Store, franchise owners began realizing the new model was not what they hoped for. For the past eight years, Mail Boxes Etc. has been entwined in disputes and litigation.
Although it's not mentioned by the association, another system Amos headed was Sona MedSpa, again sparking controversy and outrage from franchise owners, many who were seasoned business professionals. Amos bought into Sona MedSpa with the help of a private equity firm, Carousel Capital Group. As owners began closing their centers, arbitrated disputes began springing up. Sona MedSpa was found guilty of negligent misrepresentation and fined $400,000. And soon to follow, franchisees took over their franchisor.
As part of Amos’ background, IFA states eight years prior to joining MBE, Amos was the CEO of the Brice Group in Dallas, franchisor of I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt. Again, under Amos’ direction, the troubled system was involved in an international investment scheme that haunted the company until it was sold. A jury found Amos and two other executives guilty of fraud and conspiracy. It was then settled out of court, much to the judge’s dislike.
Snow Phipps Group, a New York-based private-equity firm, and Amos acquired New York-based Tasti D-Lite in 2007. Amos assembled a franchising team with the goal of selling and opening 500 centers globally. But according to franchise research firm World Franchising, four years later Tasti D-Lite had only 52 units, two that were company-owned.
Three months ago, Amos, who works closely with private equity firms through IFA circles, engineered Tasti D-Lite’s acquisition of Planet Smoothie, a chain of more than 100 units in Georgia and Florida.
Amos has served or is serving on the board of directors of the National Veteran’s Administration, the Marine Military Academy, the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, Meineke Car Care Centers, Oreck Corporation, Zig Ziglar Corporation, WSI of Canada, the University of Missouri, the HealthStore Foundation and Ken Blanchard’s Faith Walk Leadership Foundation.