SpeedPro Chicago Loop Named a 2023 IFA Franchisee of the Year

Franchise of the YearThe International Franchise Association (IFA) has named Eric Lazar, owner of SpeedPro Chicago Loop, which is a certified-disabled veteran owned large format printing franchise, as a 2023 Franchisee of the Year. Lazar was honored at the 63rd IFA Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, for being an outstanding franchise establishment owner-operator. Lazar co-owns the studio with his business partner and longtime friend Rebecca Considine.

“Franchisee of the Year recipients represent the best in franchising,” said Matthew Haller, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association. “This is the highest honor IFA awards to individual franchisees, and local business owners like Eric Lazar exemplify the power of franchising and its positive contributions to communities around the world.”

This is the second year in a row SpeedPro took home a Franchisee of the Year award with John Barber of SpeedPro Norcross winning the prestigious award in 2022. “It is an honor to see our franchisees once again being recognized for their leadership in franchising and success as entrepreneurs,” said SpeedPro CEO Paul Brewster.

The Franchisee of the Year Award, sponsored by IFA’s partner Paychex, recognizes leading franchise owners from IFA member brands whose outstanding performance and contributions help protect, enhance, and promote the franchise business model. Nominated by their parent company, individuals are selected for their service to their communities, fostering a strong and vibrant workforce, opening the doors for career growth and entrepreneurship, and supporting their fellow franchisees.

There are approximately 800,000 franchised businesses across the U.S., providing over 8.4 million direct jobs and generating over $800 billion in economic output. According to Oxford Economics, franchising on average provides higher wages and better benefits than non-franchised businesses, as well as greater entrepreneurial opportunities to minorities, women, veterans, and other underrepresented communities.

From the beginning, and for the first several years, SpeedPro Chicago Loop broke countless performance records for a studio their age and had revenues commensurate with operations several years their senior; they received the coveted Rookie of the Year Award in 2016 and they are the only studio to have won SpeedPro’s Best Project of the Year award twice.

Lazar and Considine each served separate terms as the president of the Franchise Advisory Council (FAC).

As an extension of their commitment to being good corporate citizens, Eric and Rebecca have worked tirelessly to assemble a team encompassing people who reflect the diversity of Chicago’s community. At present, the squad of six is 100 percent diverse, comprised of Service-Disabled Veterans, Women, African-American, Hispanic and LGBTQ.

Lazar and Considine sit on multiple not-for-profit boards and leadership committees, to include, Chicago Marine’s Foundation, ProjectRelo, Small Business Advocacy Council, and Media Advertising Club of Chicago.

The COVID pandemic hit the competitive Chicago market hard and paralyzed their growth trajectory. Without hesitation, SpeedPro put their printers to use creating “Heroes Work Here” signs to place around the community to raise spirits and money for first responders. Chicago Loop emerged from the pandemic with their best year to date in 2021 and went on to grow revenue by more than 72 percent in 2022.

About SpeedPro

SpeedPro is a 170-location franchise in the U.S. and Canada and a supplier to IFA, specializing in large format printing. SpeedPro’s primary product applications include wall, window and floor graphics, event displays, digital displays, signs and vehicle and fleet wraps.

A variety of industries are served by SpeedPro including advertising and marketing companies, retail, healthcare, museums and galleries, restaurants, franchises, event venues, educational institutions and more.

SpeedPro’s mission is to partner with businesses to achieve success through innovative visual solutions.

About the International Franchise Association

Celebrating over sixty years of excellence, education, and advocacy, the International Franchise Association (IFA) is the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations, and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising and the approximately 790,492 franchise establishments that support nearly 8.4 million direct jobs, $825.4 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy, and almost 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees, and companies that support the industry in marketing, law, technology, and business development.

—Press Release