A Reflection on Veterans in Franchising

Today the country reflects on all that the men and women in service provide for its appreciative populace. We would like to salute some of our veteran franchisees by taking a look at how their unique military experiences have, in one way or another, contributed to their success as entrepreneurs. While owning a franchise pales in comparison to the tremendous good done by those in our armed forces, franchise ownership nevertheless requires the exhibition of many of the same skills, abilities, and traits which are inherent to our nation’s heroes. Below are but a few examples of how such valor is translated from the battlefield to the office.  

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a Gulf War veteran, Steve Taylor, owner of a Floor Coverings International franchise in Pleasanton, California, rose to Lieutenant and is no stranger to making bold decisions, a crucial trait for any successful entrepreneur. But more than just owning a business for the challenge it represented, Taylor was inspired by something quite basic—his longtime hobby as a craftsman. “I’ve always done a lot of home improvement projects around my home,” adds Taylor. “With my own business, I knew I could do for others what I was already doing—and do it better than the competition.”

Since opening, Taylor has worked on projects ranging from replacing water damaged floors, to flooring multi-million dollar homes. For Taylor, each new client offers a unique experience, an exciting prospect for a man used to a life of variety. “I love working with each individual customer,” Taylor explained. “When you work with your customers on a personal level, you can better tailor each project to meet their wants, needs, and desires.”

In the late 1990s, U.S. Air Force veteran Chad Marshall lost his father and three sisters in a span of 18 months. Heightening his grief, his mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease at the time, losing her primary caregiver upon the death of her husband. Yet the tremendous losses did not break Marshall. Instead, the experiences that caused him so much pain served in the end to inspire Marshall to a new calling: that of owner of ComForcare Senior Services at 827 N. Glendale Ave., serving the San Gabriel Valley including Pasadena, Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta and Monrovia.

Marshall’s opening of his ComForcare location in July, 2009 was the culmination of a journey that was an often tumultuous, yet in retrospect, always tremendous learning experience for the veteran-turned-entrepreneur. A broadcast video engineer by trade, Marshall spent four years of active duty working in broadcast maintenance for the Air Force where his duties included documenting missile launches and fixing television equipment. Upon completion of his four-year tour of duty, Marshall worked for Panasonic Broadcast and Television Systems Company for 16 years. Inspired by what he witnessed as his mother suffered from Alzheimer’s, Marshall turned to ComForcare Senior Services to help care for others in a similar situation. Marshall's experience proves that a member of the military never really stops serving his or her community. 

Window Genie franchisee Dick Stieren in Omaha, Nebraska may not be a veteran himself but he nevertheless has an important place in this story, as he plans to build a business legacy by mentoring and training U.S. veteran Wade Johnson to take over his business. Stieren wants to pass along his knowledge of business and success to someone he feels is capable of taking over his Window Genie. While Johnson works now as a Window Genie employee, Stieren has been imparting his business acumen so that Johnson can take over upon his retirement.

Diverse though their backgrounds may be, the drive, dedication, and resolve shown by these franchisees is consistent among all of the franchisees profiled--and, for that matter, for many military veteran franchisees in general. It's no wonder that franchising is a popular choice for those retired from the military. Franchising allows veterans to continue to use that which they've gained in service, making franchising an appropriate--and oftentimes successful--fit.