By Eric Blom, Portland Press Herald, Maine Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Sep. 17--People casually bad-mouth franchise businesses as places that offer low-wage burger-flipping jobs and homogenize the commercial landscape. Even so, the McBusiness segment seems to be crying all the way to the bank.
Franchises have become an economic juggernaut, in Maine and the nation as a whole, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study.
Franchised businesses generated $1.56 trillion in economic activity in 2001, a tenth of the country's commercial output. In Maine, output represented 8.1 of state economic activity.
"It knocked the socks …