MBE, The UPS Store executive behind bars

I started looking closely into franchising in 1998.

One of my first big system investigations was Mail Boxes Etc., MBE. Since then, that system has morphed into The UPS Store brand and can be followed on Blue MauMau’s thread called The UPS Store, Tales of Gore.

The photograph above is of the president of MBE Canada Michael Martino. He was chairman of the Canadian Franchise Association, CFA and spoke at the International Franchise Association’s, IFA 46th annual convention in 2006.

In December 1998, Martino appeared as a part of an article by John Lorinc in Canada’s monthly national business magazine (The Report on Business). Lorinc, an award-winning  journalist, wrote a very interesting 1995 book called OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: The Truth About Canada’s Franchise Industry which is still available on used book websites. I recommend picking it up.

The accompanying article was called The Sure Thing: Peter Thomas thought he’d bought into a can’t-miss franchise. That was $170,000 ago.

Here is a pdf of the article, courtesy of my Information Sharing Project archive.

Doug Forster took the photograph. We both agreed that franchise executives, as a general rule, should not allow themselves to be posed behind bars.

  • Especially when you read the contents of the article.

Peter and I were sitting beside each other in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario when our first franchise law was passed in 2000.

I sometimes wonder what happened to Peter and to Mr. Martino over the last 10 years.

Anyone know?

UPDATE: A direct link to Lorinc’s article is now available on WikiFranchise.org. I’ve also lost touch with Peter since the Ontario franchise law was passed. Hope he is well.

2 Responses to MBE, The UPS Store executive behind bars

  1. Carol Cross says:

    Obviously, those who believe that they can cheat and defraud by legal means rationalize that it is not cheating and defrauding of innocents because it is legally possible to do so with immunity under the law and the end justifies the means, etc… for the greatest good in view of all of the interests involved, i.e. the franchisors, the banks and lenders, the Landlords, the developers, the suppliers, etc..and even the end consumer, generally.

    Obviously, all of this is justified because again, if only 29% of the first franchisees actually survive the long terms of the franchise agreements, isn’t this necessary to feed the economy? Can’t churning be defined as a vital element of successful franchising where franchisors can always present a picture of viability because of their ability under the law to grow their visibility in the economy through selling new franchises out the front door and discounted franchises out the back door. Churn and Earn is the name of the game.

    I just want a franchisor to stand up in court and tell the judge that it is moral and legal to sell franchises to the public when the franchisor knows that the franchise will probably be unprofitable for the new buyer (because of proprietory unit performance statistics his possession) but that he does NOT have to share those statistics with a new buyer of the franchise because, under law and regulation, he doesn’t have to share this information with new buyers of the franchise.

    There are some lawsuits in the US Courts that will go to the Appeals Courts and maybe there will have to be some clarification in US law as to what constitutes fraud in franchising. Take a look at the Peaberry Law Suit and Janet Sparks comments re the appeal and the findings of the district court judge. Look at the Coffee Beanery Case where it appears that the 6th US Court of Appeals made new law that the attorneys for the franchisor want to be struck down by The Supreme Court. There are lawsuits by BSA against UPS/MBE and lawsuits against Cold Stone Creamery and Curves and Quiznos and other big franchisors.

    Maybe, under President Obams’s guidance, there will be real “change” and “fraud in law” will be redefined to prevent the rampant fraud and exploitation of franchisees that has occurred these past many years since franchising was regulated by The Federal Trade Commission of the United States, the FTC.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Having been a disgrutle franchisee and area franchisee from 1996 to 2004,Iwas jubilant and lucky to have sold the MBE business and got out of this so call franchise system.Unfortunatly others were not so lucky as I was! I could write a book;however some words are better off unsaid over the internet.

    Ray Forget (former MBE 168 & Area Franchisee area 90)


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