The International Franchise Association (IFA) recently recognized Eric Lazar, owner of SpeedPro Chicago Loop, as the 2023 Franchisee of the Year during the 63rd IFA Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lazar, a certified-disabled veteran and co-owner of the large format printing franchise with business partner Rebecca Considine, was lauded for his outstanding contributions as a franchise establishment owner-operator.
According to Matthew Haller, President and CEO of the IFA, recipients of the Franchisee of the Year award exemplify the best in franchising. He emphasized that individuals like Eric Lazar showcase the positive impact of franchising on communities globally. This marks the second consecutive year that SpeedPro has received this prestigious award, with John Barber of SpeedPro Norcross earning the recognition in 2022. SpeedPro CEO Paul Brewster expressed pride in the consistent recognition of their franchisees for leadership and entrepreneurial success.
The Franchisee of the Year Award, sponsored by Paychex, acknowledges outstanding performance and contributions by franchise owners from IFA member brands. Nominees are selected by their parent companies based on their service to communities, workforce development, career growth facilitation, entrepreneurship support, and collaboration with fellow franchisees.
With approximately 800,000 franchised businesses in the U.S., generating over $800 billion in economic output and providing over 8.4 million direct jobs, franchising significantly impacts the economy. Oxford Economics highlights that franchised businesses offer higher wages, better benefits, and increased entrepreneurial opportunities, especially for minorities, women, veterans, and underrepresented communities.
Since its inception, SpeedPro Chicago Loop has consistently surpassed performance records, earning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2016 and being the only studio to win SpeedPro’s Best Project of the Year twice. Both Eric Lazar and Rebecca Considine have served as presidents of the Franchise Advisory Council (FAC). Their commitment to diversity is reflected in their 100 percent diverse team, comprising Service-Disabled Veterans, Women, African-American, Hispanic, and LGBTQ individuals.
As dedicated corporate citizens, Lazar and Considine contribute to various not-for-profit boards and leadership committees, including the Chicago Marine’s Foundation, ProjectRelo, Small Business Advocacy Council, and Media Advertising Club of Chicago.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the competitive Chicago market, SpeedPro Chicago Loop demonstrated resilience. They supported their community by creating “Heroes Work Here” signs, contributing to fundraising efforts for first responders. Remarkably, the studio not only weathered the pandemic but also achieved its best year to date in 2021 and experienced a remarkable revenue growth of over 72 percent in 2022.
SpeedPro, with 170 locations in the U.S. and Canada, is a leading supplier to IFA, specializing in large format printing for various industries. Their mission is to partner with businesses to achieve success through innovative visual solutions.
The International Franchise Association, celebrating over sixty years, is the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising globally. With a commitment to excellence, education, and advocacy, the IFA supports nearly 8.4 million direct jobs and contributes $825.4 billion to the U.S. economy. IFA members include franchise companies, individual franchisees, and businesses supporting the industry in marketing, law, technology, and business development.