Morrow Hill Overcomes ‘Sold Not Open’ Challenge in Franchising

The Future is Bright for Morrow Hill’s Real Estate Clients

Finding and Securing Retail Locations is one of the Biggest Obstacles for New Franchise Business Owners. Here’s the Solution.

Franchise seekers and franchise consultants are always wary of brands with a lot of SNO — and not the white fluffy stuff. The SNO refers to the “sold not open” status some retail franchises are plagued with. They signal a huge red flag for franchise seekers. “Candidates want to know that when they sign a franchise agreement, their retail franchise will be open in the projected time frame,” says Morrow Hill co-founder Jonathan Hill.

Hill describes his company as a trailblazer in retail franchising because of its cutting-edge proprietary technology and dedicated client-team model. “These factors allow us to work faster and smarter than any other location management service,” he says.

Morrow Hill co-founder Jonathan Hill
Morrow Hill co-founder Jonathan Hill

Morrow Hill has a stacked team that does it all in one place. They assign a dedicated account director to work with franchisors and a dedicated transaction manager to work with franchisees. “The process of getting into the right retail space is highly competitive. We create a customized solution for every brand,” he says.

Second-Generation Retail Franchise Spaces

Morrow Hill specializes in helping franchisees get into highly desirable second-generation spaces. These spaces are already built out and allow franchisees to spend less time and money on construction since there’s already existing infrastructure in place. Hill says the space is out there but securing it can be tricky. “Anything you read in the media about retail space being a soft market or thousands of retailers closing their doors is completely false. We are seeing a national retail vacancy rate of 4%, the lowest it’s been in 20 years,” Hill says.

He and his team have created a process that greatly improves franchisees’ chances of getting the retail space they want. For example, the team helps clients perfect their letter of intent (LOI). This all-important document can be the difference maker in winning a landlord’s approval or losing an ideal property. “There could be seven to eight or more LOIs on one property, and we make our clients’ LOIs stand out. Like a resume, we create a professional bio, business plan and financials so the landlord can see that the candidate and business are good ones.”

Morrow Hill currently represents more than 100 franchisors and does 1,200 to 1,500 transactions each year — 7 to 10% of the total market share. Its clients include emerging and established brands, covering different types of franchises from educational programs to fitness studios, and working in spaces that range from 2,000 square feet to more than 50,000 square feet.

Vision Map Technology

One of Morrow Hill’s secret weapons is its Vision Map technology. This intuitive and easy-to-use proprietary software helps franchisors identify the perfect territory based on traffic, demographics, areas of growth and more. “It allows franchisors and franchisees to sit down and pick a spot based on data. It’s mind-blowing how detailed we can get,” he says. “No one does what we do at this scale with the refined processes we have.”

Fact-Based Guidance

Morrow Hill has a huge edge because of its Vision Map technology. This intuitive and easy-to-use proprietary software helps franchisors find the ideal territory based on traffic, demographics, areas of growth and more.

Morrow Hill location management

View custom heat maps built specifically for the user’s brand on mobile devices.

Morrow Hill location management

Variable radii scan mile by mile and score sites to strategically pinpoint where future locations would thrive.

Morrow Hill location management

Choose from a variety of custom maps including data on market growth, age, income, retail density, labor force, projected population growth and much more.

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Retail Location Management Services

Securing a retail location can be one of the biggest challenges in getting started as a franchise business owner. The competition for retail space can be fierce. The National Association of Realtors reports that the commercial retail vacancy rate is at a 10-year low, with a national retail vacancy rate of 4%. Morrow Hill addresses concerns about franchises that are “sold not open” with its tech-driven location management services for franchisees and franchisors. The company specializes in securing second-generation retail spaces, minimizing time and costs for franchisees. Morrow Hill’s proprietary Vision Map technology helps franchisors make informed decisions based on data such as demographics and traffic.

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Jill Abrahamsen’s career spans more than 25 years in editorial, design, and marketing roles. As the editorial director of IFPG, she serves as editor-in-chief of Franchise Consultant Magazine and FranchiseWire. Through both platforms, Jill helps franchisors spread the word about their brands and reports on the latest franchise news and trends. A skilled storyteller, Jill communicates franchisor’s messages through feature articles and franchisee interviews.

Jill is an accomplished writer, editor and graphic designer. Her extensive experience includes key roles with major consumer publications, including Boating, Popular Photography, and Design NJ magazines. As founding editor-in-chief of Franchise Dictionary magazine, Jill developed her passion and fascination for franchising which continues to grow in her role at IFPG.
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