The devastating story of how a former Eagle Boys franchisee lost his home, his marriage and his business has been revealed.
Andrew Kynaston, who owned a store in Mildura, had taken out a $400,000 loan in 2009 against his home in Colignan because he was “led to believe it was going to be a cash cow.”
Less than two years later, with his business on the brink of collapse, Kynaston drove four-and-a-half hours to Adelaide for an emergency meeting, where, the father-of-two says, a senior executive floored him.
“I told them, if I close the shop I’m going to lose my house,” Kynaston said.
“[The manager] said to me, ‘So what if you lose your house? You can buy another one.’
“That crushed me. I was a mess the whole drive back.”
The meeting was also attended by other franchisees on the cusp of closing, Kynsaton says, with upwards of 40 of them already up for sale.
One senior executive allegedly told him: “You’re going to have to close down soon. You might as well leave the meeting now.”
According to Kynaston, his business was making good money, but the company’s high franchisee fees, high costs and lack of support meant that he could never make a profit.
“We were bringing in $11,000 to $12,000 per week, [but] our break-even was about $17,000.”
When the store eventually went under in 2011, Kynaston’s home was repossessed and he was forced to live in a caravan park.
“Everything went haywire. I split up with my wife, my son was confused, his school grades were affected.
“It was just a big mess,” he said.
And he’s blaming head office.
“They just took as much money out of the franchise as they could,” Kynaston continued.
“A lot of people in my situation who invested in Eagle Boys have gone bankrupt or lost their houses.
“There’s no-one out there to help you.”
Eagle Boys went into voluntary administration last month, with $30 million worth of debts.