ShopTalk

Mosquito Joe to land in Charlotte

Dustin Shackleford and his fiancée Mary Hewitt moved to Charlotte last week to open one of the area’s first Mosquito Joe franchises. Shackleford said he’ll run the business from his home, but include the area between Matthews and Pineville in his service area.
Dustin Shackleford and his fiancée Mary Hewitt moved to Charlotte last week to open one of the area’s first Mosquito Joe franchises. Shackleford said he’ll run the business from his home, but include the area between Matthews and Pineville in his service area. COURTESY OF DUSTIN SHACKLEFORD

▪ There’s no such thing as an “uneventful” mosquito season, says Dustin Shackleford, a part-time blacksmith, former Eagle Scout and recent Charlotte transplant. That’s why he’s bringing an arsenal of pesticides and all-natural chemicals to eliminate the pests from backyards in south Charlotte when he opens one of four area Mosquito Joe franchises next month.

Shackleford, 25, a former Mosquito Joe technician, plans to start the business on April 6, just in time for an expected surge of warmer weather, he said. He’ll run it from his new home in Steele Creek, he said, but will offer services to customers between Pineville and Matthews.

Three other Mosquito Joe franchises are expected to open in the Charlotte area sometime this year.

Based in Virginia, the 5-year-old Mosquito Joe provides mosquito control treatment to residential and commercial customers. The company expects to open 66 new franchises this year, bringing the total number to 105.

▪ Franchise fees will be waived for 13 Charlotte-area 7-Eleven stores as part of a plan to expand the convenience retailer’s footprint in the area and turn more of its stores into franchise operations.

Between now and June 30, would-be and current franchisees interested in owning a 7-Eleven or growing their customer base will not have to pay upfront franchise fees at about 200 stores nationwide, according to a company news release.

“We’ve done a lot of acquisitions and obtained a lot of stores we think (could be) really vibrant if we had the right people as franchisees getting involved with the community and hiring from the community,” said Margaret Chabris, 7-Eleven spokeswoman.

The Dallas-based retailer has opened more than 1,300 locations in the past four years. In 2012, 7-Eleven acquired and converted 29 Sam Mart’s in the Charlotte area. While franchise fees vary, the average fee for a store in the Carolinas, including Charlotte, is $139,828, Chabris said.

Franchisees will still be responsible for about $30,000 in licensing permits, down payment and inventory costs, and undergo the standard franchising process, which includes sales manager interviews, qualification testing and training.

Find a list of eligible Charlotte-area stores on the ShopTalk blog at charlotteobserver.com/shoptalk.

▪ Hackathon CLT, an overnight gathering of coders who work on a project and compete to present the most attractive and creative ways to deliver groceries to customers, will return this year, raising the stakes by opening the event to three categories with $5,000 in cash prizes. It starts at 5 p.m. March 27 at UNC Charlotte.

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