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updated 5/7/2014 1:16:55 PM ET 2014-05-07T17:16:55

You'd be hard-pressed to think of a tougher time to start a business than the past five years. That's what makes the companies listed here especially impressive. These 57 newbies all started franchising within that period--while helping thousands of people open their own businesses--and managed to rank in Entrepreneur's 2014 Franchise 500® alongside companies that have been franchising for decades.

Together they provide a clear picture of the types of businesses that are seeing success right now, from established industries like senior care and disaster restoration to newer trends like paint-and-sip studios and personal-electronics repair. But the biggest franchising boom by far in recent years is in fitness: 15 fitness franchises made our list, including six geared toward kids.

The franchises on the following pages are listed in the order that they ranked in the Franchise 500®, which is based on objective, quantifiable criteria, including financial strength and stability, growth rate and system size. The list is not intended as a recommendation of any particular franchise. When considering a franchise opportunity, old or new, always do your research. Read the company's Franchise Disclosure Document, consult with an attorney and an accountant, and talk to as many existing franchisees as possible.

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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