Michael Schroeder of the The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Indiana writes that Kim and Gavin Hart started with three Dairy Queens 18 years ago.

They got those after buying the restaurant chain’s northeast Allen County territory from Kim Hart’s parents. Since then, they have closed and relocated some locations and added others. Now the couple own six Dairy Queens and two Dunkin’ Donuts.

They expect the number of Dunkin’ Donuts locations to grow to “20-plus” in Fort Wayne and surrounding counties in six years. During that time, they could add five to 10 more Dairy Queens, based on market research, Kim Hart said.

Gavin and Kim Hart, operators of six Dairy Queens, and two Dunkin Donuts

Gavin and Kim Hart, operators of six Dairy Queens, and two Dunkin' Donuts

The Harts like the support they get from the company, brand recognition, buying power and the proven model that comes with the franchises. Like other local franchise owners, they think the trade-offs, such as having to follow a specific business model, are worth it.

For a while, the couple operated an independent business – Brickhouse Bagels and Bakery on Coldwater Road and Brickhouse Café and Creamery downtown in the Allen County Public Library. Last year, both were converted to Dunkin’ Donuts stores.

Kim Hart said much of the work they did in creating Brickhouse was done for them with the franchise model.

“It’s easier; the power of the brand.”

The Harts paid franchise fees upfront for 20 Dunkin’ Donuts stores. The fees range from $40,000 to $60,000 a store, Kim Hart said, declining to be more specific. Dairy Queen franchise fees range from $25,000 to $35,000, depending on what stores offer.

Read more at: The Journal Gazette