These 41 successful franchisees represent the diverse business-building opportunities franchising offers to entrepreneurs no matter what their background and interests are.
They were selected by Franchise Business Review from among 30,000 franchisees, representing 340 brands that have participated in our franchisee satisfaction research in the past 18 months. For detailed information about how we chose them, see our franchisee selection methodology.
We applaud each for achieving financial success and professional satisfaction via franchising.
THE LIST: 2017 ROCKSTAR FRANCHISEES
The bankruptcy of the textile firm where Ross Cox was a V.P. led him to apply his 35 years of business experience to assist other business people as an ActionCOACH franchisee. Cox is known to be a community builder and leader within the ActionCOACH system and his community. ActionCOACH is a business coaching and training company.
Robb Winiecki and his wife Tricia’s investment in an Assisting Hands Home Care franchise has enabled them to positively impact the lives of their clients and staff of over 100. They are appreciated for always going out of their way to help train, motivate, and inspire other Assisting Hands owners. Assisting Hands enables its clients to stay in their homes by providing medical and non-medical care.
Michelle Jeralds as one of the first Brightway Insurance franchise owners has helped forge a path for as well as mentor and coach other owners. Her franchise, which she opened in 2007 after working for the corporate office for many years, is consistently one of the brand’s top 25% for sales.
In 2003 Quent Blogett purchased an underperforming existing Budget Blinds franchise. Today, he says the business has grown tenfold. Blogett had no experience in window coverings or running his own business and credits his franchisor for providing him with the vision and tools to grow it. Budget Blinds provides custom window treatments.
After working for over three decades in healthcare and experiencing what it is like to find senior living for her mother, Paula Sotir invested in a CarePatrol franchise in 2014. She was Franchisee of the Year in 2016 and is a top five producer every month. CarePatrol is a free national senior referral and placement agency specializing in placing people in independent living, assisted living, nursing homes, and dementia and Alzheimers memory care facilities.
Joel Bell was restless in his job in the automotive industry. His wife gave him the push he needed to press the “go” button on investing in his CertaPro franchise by saying, “You should do something different now, so I don’t hear you say you wish you had tried when we are fifty.” He is respected in the system because of his consistent results and strong character. In addition, he helps his fellow franchisees by sharing his experience. CertaPro Painters serves both commercial and residential customers.
Angelo Freites’ path to becoming a franchisee began with his making sandwiches for another franchise. The owner took the time to coach and train him to become a leader. Today he owns 15 Checkers & Rally’s Drive-In Restaurants and shares his expertise with both the franchisor and fellow franchisees. Checkers & Rally’s Drive-in Restaurants are double drive-thru, quick service hamburger restaurants.
Amy Stehr’s goal, particularly as a woman in a male dominated industry, is to show that the automotive repair experience can be one that is honest and not intimidating or stressful. She opened her Christian Brothers Automotive franchise, which is one of the brand’s top 10 stores in the nation, in 2012. Prior to becoming a franchisee, Stehr worked in the nonprofit sector.
After going on a cruise Michael Consoli decided he wanted to get into the travel business. In 2007 he purchased his Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative franchise and built the business while running his technology business. Today he is among the brand’s top producing franchisees and the #1 Luxury and River Cruise agent in the country. He has also received the Top Global Producer award from Viking Cruises for the past two years. Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative is a home-based travel agency business.
Each month Rick Gallegos’s Dale Carnegie Training franchise is ranked against 176 other top performing franchises in the system on growth, market penetration and training quality. His has regularly been honored as the best franchise over the past 10 years. Dale Carnegie Training offers instructional programs on subjects such as self-improvement, strategic skills, leadership, sales, communication, and interpersonal relations for both individuals and businesses.
Daejin Suh always knew he wanted to travel, but when he moved to the U.S. from Korea at 18 he didn’t have the funds. While working in IT, he invested in a Dream Vacations franchise, which he ran part-time. Today, it’s his full-time business, he is one of the brand’s top producers, and he travels extensively. Dream Vacations franchisees sell travel packages, including travel protection, shore excursions, hotels and tours to individuals, couples, families, businesses and groups.
Tony Bigorra and his wife Aniet own six Estrella Insurance agencies. Tony managed one of the brand’s agencies when all its locations were corporate owned in 2008. When the brand decided to franchise, he purchased the office where he worked. He began purchasing additional locations once he fully understood the franchise system. Estrella Insurance franchisees offer auto, home, commercial, business, boat, motorcycle, and recreational vehicle insurance.
Tracey Codd was a travel agent when she purchased her first Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise. She has since purchased two more. Tracey is known for her commitment to continuous improvement and for helping her team of Vacation Consultants to achieve their individual and collective goals while assisting customers with choosing the right cruise line and travel plan for their needs.
Steve Vincent, when looking at investing in Help-U-Sell, knew that the brokerage system at the time was antiquated and bloated. He invested in the brand because he felt its model would give him an edge. Today he is known within the Help-U-Sell system as a team player who is willing to share what works for him with his fellow franchisees. Help-U-Sell is a set-fee real estate concept that offers real estate professionals a system to do business efficiently and effectively.
Ben Klipsch has been empowering and dedicated to developing the leadership skills of his team, the members of which he is very proud, since he purchased his Home Instead Senior Care franchise in 2008. He enjoys the satisfaction meeting the needs of seniors and their families provides, while fulfilling his entrepreneurial spirit. Home Instead Senior Care provides part-time, full-time and live-in non-medical service for the elderly who can manage their physical needs but require assistance to remain in their homes.
Upon assuming ownership of an existing JD and Candace Asbell were able to make their side real estate investment business, CityScape Properties, in to a full-time one by becoming a HomeVestors of America franchisee. Their business has been a top performer in the HomeVestors of America network since they joined it in 2004 and they received HomeVestors’ top honor, “The Founder Award”, which signifies integrity and teamwork. HomeVestors of America’s franchisees buy, sell, and rehabilitate residential and commercial properties and furnish certain services to residential and commercial property buyers.
Upon assuming ownership of an existing HouseMaster franchise, Butch Upton discovered the previous owner had not been doing things correctly. With hard work and help from corporate and other franchisees, Upton has built his business up to a large volume of growth. Training and working with great home inspectors and franchisees is something that helps him stay passionate about his business. HouseMaster provides home and building inspection services.
Kevin Hershock worked for another pizza company for 12 years before opening his first Hungry Howie’s Pizza. He had always loved its food and now owns five locations. He received the brand’s “Build the Brand Award” for being a franchisee who demonstrates great strength in marketing and operations to ensure ultimate customer satisfaction. Hungry Howie’s Pizza offers flavored crust pizzas, oven-baked calzones, chicken wings, bread, and salads.
Working in a cubicle as a business analyst was not proving very satisfying for Jason Hall. He invested in a Hwy 55 Burger Shakes and Fries and within less than three years has grown to four locations and acquired the area development rights for over 50 locations in Louisiana.
Alti Dasilveira grew up destitute with 10 siblings in Cape Verde, Fogo Island. He did not have shoes until he was seven. When he was 15, his family moved to the U.S. He purchased his first iLoveKickboxing franchise in 2011 and now has three studios. He loves that his work enables him to empower and positively influence people.
Kelly Robie has four young children and four Just Between Friends franchises. Each of her franchises is a top sales performer and Kelly mentors her fellow franchisees. She also helps the brand with pilot programs and initiatives and continually strives to do better. Just Between Friends is a children and maternity consignment event business.
Chris and Pauline Wood are second-generation owners of their Kampgrounds of America (KOA) franchise, which belonged to Chris’s family. They made many improvements to the property when they purchased it in 2007 and enjoy creating lasting memories for the generations of families who have been coming to their location. KOA campgrounds offer hot showers, clean restrooms, laundry facilities, convenience stores, swimming pools, and playgrounds.
Patrick and Cherie Sinclair with 13 units, are Kona Ice’s largest multi-unit franchise owner. They began franchising with Kona six years ago when Patrick wanted to go more mobile with the sno-ball stand he started after nearly being financially wiped out as a result of a hurricane destroying the high end Gulf Coast beach-front spec homes he was building. Kona Ice is a mobile shaved ice business.
Investing in a Linc Service franchise enabled Todd Hyneman to add preventative maintenance as a service to his existing commercial heating, ventilating, and air (HVAC) solutions business, Total Comfort Solutions. Other Linc Service franchisees look to him to help them grow their business since his is a model of success. Linc Service provides preventive HVAC service and energy solutions to commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings.
With a B.S in Mechanical Engineering and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering, Lily Carson spent years working in corporate America. When she wanted to start a family, she decided to open a MaidPro franchise due to the flexibility it offered. Her company co-founded MaidPro Cares, a non-profit that helps orphaned children, with the corporate office.
Blair Smith’s father opened a Mighty Auto Parts franchise in 1981. While his father was on the road selling, Blair worked in the warehouse. In 2003, Blair assumed ownership of the business and went on to acquire additional Mighty Auto Parts territories surrounding it. He successfully meets the changing needs of the automotive aftermarket.
Mark Calis is one of 100 second-generation Minuteman Press franchisees. He took his business over from his parents and is an active participant in the brand’s regional meetings. He also shares advice and his experience with fellow franchisees and strives to constantly grow and improve upon the business. Minuteman Press’ customer service driven business model provides digital print, design, and promotional products and services to businesses.
In 1987 Eddie Naro had a wife and baby and needed a job. He began working at a Miracle Method Surface Refinishing and discovered he liked it. In 1998, after saving every dime and having his second child, he opened his own Miracle Method franchise. He has grown the business to 20 employees and a Texas Master Franchise with 14 franchisees. Miracle Method Surface Refinishing provides professional bathtub and countertop resurfacing as well as bathroom tile and tub refinishing.
David Stein owns an Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services franchise and is an Area Developer. He assists fellow franchisees across the country by training and coaching them. In addition, he contributes his experience to the development of the brand’s business model. Although David’s franchise is in one of the smallest markets within Office Pride’s system, it is a top producer.
Jennifer Savoy Galan was a stay-at-home mom after being in corporate America for 12 years when she invested in her first Painting with a Twist franchise in 2011. Today, she owns four locations with her husband, who works with her full time. They have contributed over $100,000 to local non-profits via their Painting with a Purpose events.
Gail Dahlman worked at the Pizza Factory location she and her husband Rodney purchased. They are proud of the meaningful relationships they’ve built with their close-knit group of employees and customers and of being up in sales for 49 consecutive months.
Harley Cohen knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur, however felt a franchise would provide a higher probability for success. After looking at various opportunities he invested in a Right at Home franchise, which provides customized in-home care. He has been named a Leader in Excellence by Home Care Pulse and won both it’s Employer of Choice and Provider of Choice awards.
Alan Regale had a business in product design and development when he decided to become a part of something bigger than himself. He invested in a ShelfGenie franchise because its focus on customized storage solutions meshed well with his experience. Regale has assisted ShelfGenie with the design and architecture of its franchise training and e-learning modules and mentors new franchisees.
Anthony Calvano worked for both Soccer Shots corporate and one of its franchises prior to purchasing his own. He loves hearing from grandparents, parents, teachers and kids how much they like the program. Calvano’s commitment to personal and professional development has resulted in his having a strong team and his business growing. Soccer Shots is a children’s soccer program with a focus on character development.
Leisa Byars’s The Goddard School is the only preschool in Tennessee to be recognized as a P21 Exemplar school. Her franchisee peers honored her with the Phillip Schumacher Award that acknowledges a franchisee who manages an outstanding business, is valued in their community, and is respected by fellow owners for their commitment to quality.
Doing business with family is the norm for Ryan Knowles who owns three TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchises in partnership with his father and brother in Florida. The group also partnered with one of their managers to open a Texas location. Their business began in 1993 with a couple of movers and two trucks. It now has 37 trucks and 100 team members in Florida, more in Texas. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK provides local and long-distance moving and packing services to residential and business customers.
Becoming a United Country Real Estate franchisee enabled Matt Gallimore to grow his family business, Blue Ridge Land and Auction, within a short time frame. He worked with the brand to develop a three-year business plan to double his business’s income. The income goal was surpassed in less than two years. United Country Real Estate provides real estate brokerage, auction, and marketing services.
Being downsized after working in the accounting and finance field for 13 years led Mike Kirk to reevaluate his career. He had always enjoyed the green industry, so opted to invest in a U.S. Lawns franchise. He is a recipient of the brand’s President’s Award and a member of its Hall of Fame, which honors franchisees who have built successful and sustainable businesses.
Steve Russell and his brother Chuck opened their first Weed Man USA franchise in 2000 and now own 10 territories. Steve mentors the brand’s franchisees and is known for always having innovative ideas and constantly looking for ways to strategically grow his business. He stays involved with the green industry in general by serving on boards and in other ways.
Karen and Joe Ryan had their own real estate agency when they became affiliated with Weichert Realtors in 2004 because they felt they needed better tools and management systems, which the franchise offered. They have since opened three additional locations. They represent their fellow franchisees on various Weichert advisory boards and their growth story inspires others.
In 1998, Todd Faulkner invested in a Zaxby’s franchise. He is a member of the Zaxby’s Advisory Council and his wisdom and insight has had a positive influence on the brand. Todd is known for helping his team members and fellow franchisees to be as successful as they can be. Zaxby’s offers prepared-at-order Chicken Fingerz, Traditional or Boneless Wings, sandwiches, Zalads and Zappetizers, along with a variety of sauces.