Joe Smith, founder of Bronx-based New York Bagel Cafe and Deli, which has four stores in the New York area and one in Newark, Del., has scheduled openings for six new shops in the tri-state area before July, in Glen Mills, West Chester and Wilmington; and in Brunswick, Brick, and Rockaway, NJ.

Smith likes Philly: the landlords are "much more negotiable here", because north-central New Jersey "is already fully saturated with mom-and-pop bagel stores." He's looking for franchisees with $100,000-200,000 to start, plus a flat $750/month royalty fee, going to $850 in year two, and $950 after that. The company's franchisees will hire around 50 managers and part-time counter help to staff those stores.

ALSO: John Wallace, franchisee of the first Delaware location: "I am a CPA by trade. I spent four and a half years at Ernst & Young and spent 18 years in management position" at a regional accounting firm, including opening new offices and scaring up new business. "I left in June of 2008. I wanted to do something on my own... I wanted to have more control of my own destiny." Classic.