Wheel of Fortune star Pat Sajak is expanding his Great American Deals franchise company nationally.
Great American Deals, which Sajak describes as a hyperlocal Groupon-like business, currently has just under 20 locations operating in California.
“If there’s a shortcoming, and I’m not knocking them, in terms of the big guys, it’s that they don’t have their feet on the ground,” says Sajak. “If you’re interested in daily deals as a business owner, the idea is to build customers. But often someone will save 20 bucks by driving 40 miles, but may never come back again.”
Sajak says Great American Deals is looking to solve this problem by selecting franchise owners who have deep ties to a particular community. Then, the franchise gives the entrepreneurs the tools to run their own daily-deals site, which can be found from the main Great American Deals homepage.
The Great American Deals franchises do not require an investment in physical real estate. Sajak says the franchise fee is $35,000. Both the franchisee and the franchise organization get a cut of each deal sold on the site.
Since launching the Great American Deals franchise last year, Sajak says the company has been focused on slow-and-steady growth. With the International Franchise Expo underway this week in New York City, Sajak says it’s the perfect time to pursue national growth.
“We’ve had it running smoothly, and we’re up to about 17 franchises in California,” says Sajak. Cities include Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Santa Monica and Santa Clarita.
Though he owns a couple of radio stations and is involved in real-estate investing, Sajak says Great American Deals is a first.
“It’s the first time I’ve stuck my name on something like this,” says Sajak, who has hosted Wheel of Fortune since 1981.
In fact, Sajak says the show’s guests helped him decide to start the business.
“I do this little game show and we have the nicest people on the show – all regular folks like small businessmen and housewives, and they’re hardworking folks,” says Sajak. “There are a lot of people struggling, and if we can help them … it’s really nice to see.”