While Rapper 50 Cent was promoting his new video game at a Play N Trade store in Manhattan last week, PlayNTrade Franchise Inc. Founder Ron Simpson and President and CEO Larry Plotnick were appearing at franchise discussion site Unhappy Franchisee, defending their company and brand.
In reporting on the suspension of the CA franchise registration of Play N Trade (See PLAY N TRADE: CA Suspends PnT Franchise Registration), website Unhappy Franchisee set off a lively debate about the video game retail concept and its franchisor.
Some commenters allege that Play N Trade used deceptive tactics to achieve its rapid growth, and was not forthcoming about early franchise failures, necessary capitalization and flaws in the business model.
Defenders of the Play N Trade franchisor and concept claim that the franchise registration will be restored and PnT exonerated on appeal, that the concept is sound and marketing and support to franchisees is exceptional.
Play N Trade President and CEO objected to the implication that Play N Trade had been found guilty of any wrongdoing:
As the President and CEO of Play N Trade I feel it… is very unfortunate that http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com would state that Play N Trade has been found guilty of anything, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Play N Trade has not been found guilty of any wrong doing, and that the citation highlighted is a preliminary order that is not final. We are working closely with our Attorneys and the California Department of Corporations to clarify and settle this matter quickly and with the least amount of impact to our franchisees.
This preliminary order only impacts the state of California, and will not be finalized until the completion of a negotiation or appeals process.
Play N Trade Corporation takes this and all legal matters very seriously, and are and will cooperate fully with all state agencies.
We will be communicating with our current and future franchisees appropriately as facts become available.
President and CEO
Play N Trade, Inc.
Larry Plotnick, who joined Play N Trade in January of this year, cautioned readers from taking the often emotional criticisms of his company at face value:
I would like to caution anyone reading this website and the comments being made; that much of what has been said is incorrect, misleading and/or opinion only. If you have concerns with Play N Trade I would suggest that you call or contact our Corporate office and we can answer your questions appropriately and directly. Yes there are a few upset individuals, mostly ex-employees that have attempted to compete with Play N Trade unsuccessfully (Like Gamer Doc and others) that have reason to create problems. We will not use a public forum, such as this for discussions back and forth.
We continue to work very hard for our franchisees, not only in clearing up this current situation and working with the state of California but in completing for rollout this summer our new POS system, the new unified buying program and a new national marketing campaign all to support our franchisees.
I hope that our franchise community can see through these “rants” and understand that their partners at Play N Trade are doing everything possible to create a world class brand and to create a continually improving model in an exciting and growing industry.
President and CEO
Play N Trade
Play N Trade Founder Ron Simpson stated that franchisees are always taking a risk and that failed stores are “a fact of business and our economy”:
It hurts me to see what is being said about such a great brand… For the people thinking about buying any franchise, there is very real risk and take all the information you can gather before buying one. The allure of running your own business can cloud your judgment. I set out to compete against a true giant in Gamestop, and have always said the franchisees will decide the outcome. I truly believe the our franchisees are given as much as can be given to compete from PNT, and it is up to them from there. I have never promised anything I couldn’t deliver and never asked anything from franchisees that I haven’t accomplished myself. As for the State of California, I know PNT will prevail and a lot of what this blog is based on will cease. As for closed stores, that happens to all franchises, even coporation like Gamestop…it’s a fact of business and our economy. God bless everyone on this blog (negative and positive) and all of our franchisees, I hope nothing but the best for all of you.
PlayNTrade Franchise Inc.
Read or join the discussion here: PLAY N TRADE: CA Suspends PnT Franchise Registration
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Related reading: PLAY N TRADE: Video Game Franchise Played Out?