Through November 30, TCBY is accepting submissions for its “This Could Be Yours, The Great TCBY Store Giveaway” promotion.

Through the “Great TCBY Store Giveaway,” one winner will receive a free unit courtesy of the company.

“The idea originated with a meeting that we had with our franchisee advisory board earlier this calendar year,” says Steve Willes, director of marketing for Mrs. Fields Famous Brands LLC, parent company of TCBY. “In one of those meetings, the franchisee advisory board brought up the idea of giving away a store to try to help drive development for the brand.”

Willes says that the recession played a role in deciding to do the promotion, as the company recognized that some Americans might need a “fresh start.”

“We can’t think of a more perfect time to do something like this, to give away a free store to a potential franchisee, because we know that a lot of Americans right now are hurting and they’re looking for … potentially a career change, or a new path to go down,” he says.

The promotion is going to cost the company about $300,000, Willes says, mostly for build out of the unit and to get the winner “off and running.” After that TCBY will treat the winner like any other franchisee.

To enter the promotion, contestants are asked to enter a two-minute-or-less video explaining why they should win and what they have to offer TCBY. The videos, which can be submitted via the company’s Web site, will be judged on creativity, a sense of business acumen, and originality.

Twenty-five semi-finalists will initially be chosen, and then 10 finalists will be put through an informal interview process before a winner is crowned.

Willes says TCBY might consider doing the promotion again if it is successful the first time around.

“Obviously we want it to be successful for the winner, we want that winner to be successful as a business partner for TCBY,” he says. “But then on top of that we want it to be successful for us as a brand, in terms of generating a lot of awareness for TCBY the brand and what a great development option it is for potential franchisees.”

By Sam Oches

News, TCBY