Wake-up Call Spurs Longtime Franchise Exec to New Opportunities | Franchise News


Ron Feldman, right, with Shaquille O’Neal at an International Franchise Association event.

When Franchise Times talked to Ron Feldman, he was planning to get on a plane the next day to visit his granddaughter for her fifth birthday party. “You have to make time for those things,” he said. He’s making time for other passions, as well.

Feldman recently launched Franchise Strategy Solutions so he can leverage his 30-plus years in the franchise sector to work on what he called “passion projects.” But he didn’t come to this place without some help.

Last May, Feldman had just finished up his weekly executive call as the chief development officer with ApplePie Capital, a funder of franchise loans. At home alone, he hung up the phone and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water.

“It was like a sledgehammer hit me in the middle of the chest,” he said. “I sat down to catch my breath and called 911. I got up and unlocked the door so they could get in. I was in a cold sweat. It was the scariest thing in the world.”

Feldman had triple bypass heart surgery the next day, and said he had 98 percent blockage in the “widow-maker” artery. “I didn’t have any symptoms except that I had pain in my left shoulder. I thought I strained it playing golf,” he said.

He was in the hospital seven days, and in cardiac rehab for 60. He’s stopped smoking cigars and eating beef, among other things. “I lost 25 pounds and exercise five to seven days a week,” he reported.

Having that experience was a wake-up call. In addition to taking care of himself physically, Feldman knew he had to take some stress out of his life. Enter Franchise Strategy Solutions.

As he wrote on his LinkedIn page at the time: “After some self-assessment, I realized that I wanted to work with a couple of companies that I had a passion for. Having been a franchisee myself, my criteria was simple. Is there a differentiated offering that makes a difference to franchisee profitability? The other thought was to help franchisor founders with growth strategies and liquidity event planning. The PE golden goose is a great outcome, but not the only one for a founder that wants to stay and run their company!”

He has loved helping grow the ApplePie brand, so will remain a brand ambassador. “That’s a good description of what I do,” Feldman said.

He’s also added a couple of other projects to his lineup. The first is with Diversified Royalty Corp. “Diversified offers a way to have a liquidity event, but the owner still calls the shots,” he said. First launched in Canada a number of years ago, Diversified provides that liquidity to multi-unit businesses by acquiring top-line royalties. The company was approved to do business in the U.S. a few years ago, “and I am going to help them scale that.”

The second is ProfitKeeper, which started out as an online accounting software for franchises, but has added other services such as KPI and royalty reporting. Feldman will help train salespeople and scale the company.

A vast career in franchising

Feldman started his long adventure into franchising when he and his wife, Karen, became franchisees of The Goddard School, a preschool education brand. “We were going to open three or four more, but the real estate process was terrible. And I also had a fundamental problem: I swear like a sailor. I would go in there and get smacks from the teachers,” he said, chuckling.

They later sold that location, and bought an independent autobody shop. He had become acquainted with Tony Martino, the founder and CEO of both Goddard and MAACO Auto Body Shop, when he and Karen owned the preschool. “Tony and I became very close, and I became part of the MAACO development team as the finance guy,” Feldman recalled.

After that, his resumé includes tenure with companies such as franchise finance broker Siegel Financial Group. In fact, he bought into Siegel and later relaunched it as Franchise America Finance with business partner Nate Greenberg. He left there to work with Frandata to “expand my knowledge base. My tenure at Frandata was invaluable to me in learning how data centric approaches can affect positive—and negative—outcomes for franchise brands.” He spent four years there as chief development officer.

At Frandata, “we had a client named Denise Thomas,” the CEO of ApplePie Capital, who later brought on Feldman as CDO. “ApplePie did $17 million in loans the year I got there, and over $500 million last year,” he said.

All that leads back to today, where Feldman will spend his time helping his franchise contacts be better, or grow more. And, maybe reminding them about a thing or two: He’s not shy about urging folks to get their hearts checked out, including their calcium score.

“In May I put up a post on LinkedIn about my heart episode and surgery,” he said. “Franchising is a family, and I wanted my franchise family to know what I went through and that they should be proactive. I’m the resident nudge.”

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