Before I was in business I was in corporate America as the director of finance for Alcoa Fastener Systems - a division of Alcoa. After the manufacturing operation was transitioned to Mexico my wife and I decided to move to New Jersey since Maryann grew up in the state. We knew it was time to realize our dream of opening our own business. The business is a franchise. I had looked at multiple businesses prior to getting into the franchise and I was actually recruited for this model. I am a big proponent of working with the right people. When I met the franchise owners I was very impressed with their knowledge, sincerity and honesty and most of all they listened to us as the franchisee in terms of what we wanted to do. They didn't try to force us to do things their way but were willing to get a lot of input from us.
At the end of the day success is based on profitability but the way you build it is not just through your P&L but also on building a sustainable customer base. You have to create relationships with the customer. We want to stand above the competition by giving our customers a delicious yogurt, quality customer service and an exceptionally clean buying environment. We are also interested in promoting any fundraising activities we can do for our customers to “give back” to the community. We want to let people know who we are and what we believe in. The “making money” part of being in business is great but the “feel good” part is even better. When I was young I was aware some of the companies that prospered in my neighborhood didn’t necessarily do a lot to help the people and my town. I always said if I owned a successful company I would do that – and now I really like being able to help our neighbors with causes dear to their hearts and ours.
Matt and I have a pretty good relationship and share some of the same qualities. We’re both passionate about what we like to do. We both believe in sincerity, honesty and integrity in running a business and expect the same from our vendors. We believe educating employees with these same characteristics will help support and grow a business. Because Matt was a retail owner we connect on the operational side of the business. He gives me input on selecting a second location, how to go about doing some of the fundraisers, how to attract new customers and dealing with social media.
When I first met Matt and Sandy what they provided me with was a better perspective in terms of how to open a business and how to run the business, some of the challenges that I would eventually encounter in opening the business, some of the potential road blocks and how to navigate around all that.