Former Franchisee Leads Investment Group That Acquires Franchise Concepts, Inc

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI | Monday, March 15, 2004


Franchise Concepts, Inc. (FCI), the world’s largest franchisor of retail art and custom framing stores, was acquired today by an investment group led by longtime Deck The Walls and The Great Frame Up franchisee Mark Ebling of St. Louis. FCI owns the brands Deck The Walls, The Great Frame Up, as well as Framing & Art Centre, the only national art and custom framing franchise in Canada. Together the brands form more than 300 franchise stores. Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced.

Ebling, a franchisee of more than 18 years with both Deck The Walls and The Great Frame Up, has been named President and C.E.O. John Jones is retiring but will remain on the Board of Directors and retain a minority ownership position. Connie Williams will remain as Chief Operating Officer. Steve Lowrey remains as head of Franchise Development and Philip Campbell will be the CFO on an interim basis.

The largest stockholder in the new ownership group is Bush O’Donnell, a St. Louis-based investment company. Jim O’Donnell, co-founder of Bush O’Donnell, has been named FCI’s Chairman of the Board. Ebling said that FCI plans to establish a corporate office in St. Louis by late summer.

There are currently 122 Deck The Walls franchises in 34 states, 152 The Great Frame Up franchises in 33 states and 51 Framing & Art Centre franchises throughout Canada. According to Ebling, the acquisition provides FCI with additional resources to grow its franchise concepts and increase the level of franchisee support.

Ebling said the new ownership group’s initial focus will be in the areas of marketing and merchandising as well as development of all three concepts.

“Our immediate objective is to increase marketing and merchandising support for the franchisees,” said Ebling. “We are also exploring new real estate programs designed to grow each concept. There is tremendous potential in all the brands,” Ebling continued. “We want to provide our franchisees with the resources necessary to reach that potential.” About Franchise Concepts Based in Houston, Franchise Concepts, Inc. owns Deck The Walls, Great Frame Up and Framing and Art Centre franchise companies, which represents more than 300 stores in the United States and Canada. About Deck The Walls: Deck The Walls, founded in 1979, is one of the nation’s leading retailers of art and custom framing with more than 120 locations in 34 states. The corporate Franchise Support Center is located in Houston, Texas. About The Great Frame Up: The Great Frame Up, founded in 1971, is one of the nation's leading art and custom framing retailers with 152 franchised stores in 33 states. The corporate Franchise Support Center is located in Houston, Texas.

About Framing & Art Centre: Framing & Art Centre is the only national art and custom framing franchise in Canada with 51 franchised stores nationwide. The corporate Franchise Support Center is located in Burlington, Ontario.

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Franchise Concepts, Inc.
14300 Cornerstone Village Drive
Suite 321
Houston, TX

Phone: (713) 983-9565
Toll Free: (800)543-3325
Fax: (713) 896-8598

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