Value Place experiencing explosive growth for its Hotel-Apartment hybrid
In spring 2004, Gina-Lynne Scharoun got a phone call from her former boss. He wanted her to be president of the franchising company for his new brand. Jack DeBoer — founder of Residence Inn, Summerfield Suites and Candlewood Suites — was launching another concept: a hotel-apartment hybrid called Value Place. The company-owned hotel in Wichita was already thriving.
Scharoun said yes. And within a few short months, she'd already inked more franchise deals than she did in the first three years at Candlewood Suites. Today, the company is rapidly approaching 200 franchise commitments — a significant development milestone reached in less than 12 months of actively selling the brand.
Scharoun quickly learned why franchisees were so passionate about their new investments. In fact, she is herself a franchisee — construction is now under way on her Value Place in Tulsa, Okla. And while this is her first franchise investment, she is confident of its success.
“Jack has always been a rule-breaker and visionary. He doesn't accept conventional ideas or approaches, which makes him a fantastic and profitable entrepreneur,” she says. “I really believe in Jack and in Value Place. It just seemed logical to become a franchisee myself.”
While DeBoer is widely recognized in the hotel industry, he also was the nation's second largest apartment developer in the 1970s. He has combined both experiences to launch Value Place, his Short-Term Residential Property concept, which DeBoer considers his best real estate investment yet.
The brand is based on four guiding principles: Low Cost, Safe, Clean and Simple. Residents choose from three economy-priced, comfortable room options. Property operations are similar to those of apartment buildings. Each property requires as few as 4.0 to 4.5 full-time equivalent employees. And the team doesn't have to worry about reselling their property every night because Value Place studios rent one week at a time!
Many residents are business owners, contractors, and skilled laborers who need temporary lodging for job assignments. Others need short-term housing for personal reasons. Each Value Place is like a small neighborhood, where residents feel safe and respected. Employees strive to know and greet every resident by name.
Franchisees like Storm Nolan, vice president of development for Whitt Properties, like what they see.
“We were immediately impressed with the uniqueness of Value Place and its profitability potential,” says Nolan, who is building seven properties. The first is open in Bentonville, Ark. “We wanted to get in on the ground floor of another successful Jack DeBoer project.”
Even DeBoer's banker is on-board. He has formed investment groups that have already acquired multiple franchisees. And Scharoun is meeting with potential franchisees at the corporate headquarters in Wichita, Kan., virtually every day of the week.
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