August 30, 2006 – 7 Valleys Custom Blends, a York, Pennsylvania-based tobacco retailer and new franchisor, enlisted the aid of Greenville, WS-based F.C. Datson to design and manufacture the interior fixtures and floorplan it needs to implement its national expansion.

“When we first approached 7 Valleys, they were beginning to franchise and wanted a store design that was attractive, functional, and would give them a recognizable, uniform look for their franchises, ” says Troy Schwehr, the FCD account representative who manages the 7 Valleys account.

Troy and FCD worked closely with Mark Tucci, president of 7 Valleys Custom Blends, to ensure all his concerns were addressed. The process began with the creation of a floor plan that created natural traffic flow patterns with areas that would help 7 Valleys merchandise their products. FCD also developed a fixture package, design package, and color scheme that tied into the retailer’s product and image and would help 7 Valleys build a recognizable brand. Taking a cue from the merchandise, FCD used light and dark wood tones in its fixtures to resemble the tobacco itself. FCD designed and built a counter, tobacco and coffee display, humidors, and accessory cases that are not only unique to 7 Valleys, but are also completely adaptable to fit the needs of future franchise locations.

“When talking to Mark, one of his main concerns was not having the time to create a new store environment while selling new franchises and continuing to sell product, ” says Collin Gruthoff, President/CEO of FCD. “We came in and managed the design and build-out of the stores fixtures to free up more of Mark’s time.”

After the completion of two store projects, FCD isn’t the only one pleased with the partnership. “As a new Franchisor, the advice and service that F.C. Dadson gives our company is truly priceless. We rely on their experienced staff to help plan and deploy our franchise units. I know when I sign a new franchise their build out will be correct because our partners at F.C. Dadson make sure it’s correct. With F.C. Dadson on our team, we can concentrate on supporting our franchises and building our brand. We have peace of mind knowing that F.C. Dadson will be building the stores, ” says Tucci.

About Troy Schwehr & F.C. Dadson, Inc.

Troy Schwehr is a retail consultant for F.C. Dadson, Inc. As a retail consultant, he works with businesses to develop functional store layouts and designs. Schwehr comes from an extensive sales background, which has helped him develop a strong customer perspective.

F.C. Dadson, Inc. is a Wisconsin-based fixture manufacturer. The company offers custom fixture design, manufacturing and installation for clients nationwide. The company headquarters is located at N1043 Craftsmen Dr., Suite 2 Greenville, WI 54942. For more information about F.C. Dadson, Inc., visit www.fcdadson.com.

About 7 Valleys Custom Blends

7 Valleys Custom Blends is a York, Pennsylvania-based tobacco retailer and the first roll-your0own tobacco shop franchisor. The company specializes in the sale of uniquely-blended tobaccos and other smoking accessories. For more information about the 7 Valleys franchise, call 843-681-3966 or visit www.customblends.com.

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 268 user reviews.

First Franchise Unit for 7 Valleys Custom Blends

CAMP HILL, PA – 7 Valleys Custom Blends, a York, Pa.-based retailer of all-natural bulk tobacco, has opened its first franchise unit. The grand opening of the store in Camp Hill, Penn., a suburb of Harrisburg, was held on August 4. “After 13 years of serving a loyal and growing customer base in York and the surrounding area we’re thrilled to make 7 Valleys Custom Blends products available in a new market, ” said company founder and president, Mark Tucci, .

7 Valleys Custom Blends is the first bulk tobacco concept to franchise. Mark Tucci thinks that the timing is just right to launch an aggressive expansion program. “Smokers are already paying extravagant amounts for cigarettes, ” states Tucci. “When smokers see how much they can save…we’re confident that many of them will become our customers.”

The stores specialize in full range of merchandise for roll-your-own and make-your-own cigarette customers, stocking 49 custom blends of fresh chemical- and additive-free tobacco. Each blend has its own unique flavor derived from different combinations of premium U.S. and imported tobaccos. The stores also stock pipe tobacco, cigars, rolling papers, machines, and other supplies as well as a new line of 7 Valleys Custom Blends coffee. Associates can help shoppers to match coffee blends with their favorite tobacco blends.

Camp Hill franchisee partners Sean Concannon and Richard Agolia were both former customers of the York Store. The opening of the first franchise unit in Camp Hill also marked the introduction of a new store format. Designed in collaboration with F.C. Dadson, the store features contemporary styling and a layout that is intended to be shopper-friendly. The design is the prototype for future 7 Valleys Custom Blends stores. The York store has incorporated new shelves, cabinets and display cases to reflect the new scheme.

Sean Kelly, president of IdeaFarm, a leading franchise marketing and brand development firm, says the company has effectively identified its niche market, developing products and category knowledge that “customers sincerely appreciate.”

“This is the type of franchise that allows owners to develop a truly unique bond with their clients, ” he adds.

A second franchised unit is scheduled to open in Lancaster, Pa. in October. “As we are joined by more franchise partners the awareness of 7 Valleys Custom Blends will build and the benefits of the roll-your-own approach to cigarettes will become more apparent, ” says Tucci. Franchise information is available at www.customblends.com

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 221 user reviews.

THANK YOU FOR SMOKING

Tobacco Franchise Rolls Out

from: Franchise Times Magazine, August 2006

marktucci300.jpgMark Tucci was talking to a prospective franchisee in the back room of his 7 Valleys Custom Blends Farm Fresh Tobacco store when the man signaled him to be quiet so he could hear the sales pitch going on out front. When the sale had been rung up, the prospect turned to Tucci and asked who the man doing such a good job of selling roll-your-own tobacco was, since he had only seen a saleswoman working.

“I told him it was one of our customers, ” Tucci says, puffing out his chest with pride. The only thing better than a customer selling your product for you is a customer looking to open a retail store just like yours. Tucci has both, which is why he has started offering franchises.

According to the Office on Smoking and Health, more than 44 million adults in the U.S. smoke—almost one in four—even though the health industry is spending millions trying to get people to quit.

Seven Valley’s motto is: “If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, smoke smart.” “Smoking smart” means rolling your own cigarettes with farm-fresh tobacco that doesn’t contain the addictive chemicals and additives traditional cigarettes do, Tucci claims.

“What we’ve seen from our 12, 000 customers is they cough less and (have) no swelling and side affects from cigarettes, ” Tucci says, admitting it’s not a scientific study, just the observations from their customers.

In addition to tasting better—7 Valleys carries 49 custom blends from menthol to hazelnut to peach—the cigarettes also burn longer, which means people smoke fewer, Tucci points out. And since bulk tobacco isn’t privy to the same laws and taxes as the brands that come rolled 20 to a pack, they’re cheaper (about $1.20 a pack versus $3.90 or more). The only equipment needed is a small machine that injects tobacco into tubes that look like the real thing.

Tucci, who opened his first store in York, PA., in 1973, came up with the idea when he was stationed with the Army in Germany during the early ‘80s. Cigarettes were expensive and he discovered a huge market of products not available in the U.S. When he finished his tour, he continued rolling his own cigarettes, despite the stigma associated with the habit. “I’d go into a store to buy papers and people concluded I was doing drugs, ” he says. Plus, the available tobacco blends were limited and unimaginative.

“We decided to take it to the next level, ” he says. In addition to the bulk tobacco and accessories, he also sells coffee blends that are paired with all 47 tobacco flavors.

The next level also includes a surveillance system that allows Tucci to monitor his Pennsylvania stores from his home in Hilton Head, S.C.The stores are profitable, but they take the right kind of person to man them. “You need someone who loves people, ” he says. The job is “almost like a bartender. People become connected to you—same time, same place.”

Tucci isn’t just blowing smoke. He admits this isn’t a franchise for everyone. Everything has to be “tidy and above board” he says. “You can’t have someone claiming this is good for you.” The cigarettes, that is, not the economics of the business.

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 211 user reviews.