I guess I can admit it now that that damned NY Times article today “outs” me as the ultra-secretive founder of the “will work for food cardboard sign” franchise operation with over 37,000 well-heeled franchises capitalizing on street corners from coast to coast. The article applauds my innovative use of vertical manufacturing to supply durable plastic “pre-distressed, torn” signs indistinguishable from cardboard signs, and the patented “authentique homage de homeless” fragrance spray most franchisees opt to use, but is critical of our average franchise fee of $57,000, saying that “Wynn has made street corner begging the province of the well-heeled, pricing many wanna-be beggars out of the market.” I won’t apologize, however, since I think the flip side of that coin is that my organization brings a new professionalism to an industry formerly populated with less savory types. The NY Times article touches on that briefly, noting a typical beggar-franchisee has an MBA and an hourly income of $317 per hour.

My favorite quote from the article is:

Asked whether he regretted any aspects of his corner-begging-empire, Wynn wistfully sighed. “Dogs. Those damn dogs. I wish I’d been the one to realize how much money there is in renting those damn dogs to my franchisees. By the time we figured it out, that Vicks guy out east had locked up the rental-pitiful-dog market with long-term contracts. What can I say, he beat me to the punch, fair and square.”

Even before reading the NY Times article, deep inside, every time you saw one of our franchisees, you knew it was something like that.

Didn’t you?