Before January 2018, Best In Class’s development team set a goal of opening 16 new franchise locations for the new year. By October, the education franchise had opened 16 locations in 2018, and it is on track to open another three before the end of the year.
“We are thrilled with the growth we have seen this year,” said Sharon Peterson, VP of Franchise Recruitment and Development. “Not only are we going to meet our goal, we are likely to exceed it and close out the year with 18 locations.”
One of Best In Class’s new franchise owners is Dr. Alissa Gardenhire, who opened her location in South Orange, New Jersey in February. Like many Best In Class franchisees, Gardenhire had a career in education before joining the brand, but she had never owned a business. Gardenhire said she had always enjoyed her work, but she had an entrepreneurial drive that hadn’t been fulfilled, so she “decided life was short,” and quit her job find a business she could run for herself. Just a few months after leaving her job, Gardenhire was researching franchise brands in her field and came across Best In Class. She was immediately impressed by the dedication she saw at every level of the franchise’s corporate team, including Best In Class’s CEO, Has Lam, who made a special trip to meet Gardenhire and discuss the opportunity.
“I was so impressed with the business and the leadership,” she said. “No other CEOs were flying out to meet me. After some due diligence, I was convinced it was the right opportunity, and I bought in.”
Later in the year, Dr. Olga Duenas-Jolly joined the Best In Class team as a new franchisee, after spending more than 30-years in the education industry in roles ranging from school counselor, to family counselor, to tutor. After receiving her PhD in Psychology from Saybrook University in the summer of 2017, Jolly began researching franchise opportunities that would give her the opportunity to help children progress in education.
“I looked at several companies and Best in Class really stood out to me,” Jolly said. “I went to Seattle to meet the corporate team and believed their enthusiasm for education.”
Jolly opened her first Best In Class center in Anaheim Hills, California this fall.
On the other side of the country, Best In Class is gearing up for its newest opening in Suwanee, Georgia on Saturday, November 10th. This will be a family-run business, operated by parents Molly and Chris, their son Carter and daughter Allison. The family was drawn to the educational franchise to meet the needs of their North Atlanta neighbors who value education, and at a time that the state as a whole is building awareness on the importance of schooling.
“Our new franchisees are doing fantastic work,” she said. “All across the country, new owners are opening centers and getting off to great starts.
But not all of Best In Class’s 2018 openings are coming from new owners. Six were opened by existing, multi-unit franchisees. Peterson said more than 60 percent of the brand’s franchisees are multi-unit owners, and many are still expanding.
Take Haishan Peiris and Surender Nagula for example, who opened their first Best In Class location in Mayfield Heights, Ohio in October 2016. The former I.T. colleagues noticed immediate success at their first location, pointing to the talented team of educators and the Best In Class education programs and curriculum. Due to the success in Mayfield Heights, Haishan and Surender opened the brand’s first satellite location in Solon, Ohio in February of this year.
In 2018, Best In Class opened new centers in Southern California, Florida, Georgia, and a host of other markets. In 2019, Peterson said the franchise is targeting even more new and existing territories, including Dallas, Austin, Charlotte, Raleigh, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Central Florida, Northeast New Jersey and Northern Virginia.
Peterson said her team is hoping to hit those markets and more with 20 new franchise centers in 2019. To do that, they are looking for the same kind of passion, grit and determination that Gardenhire has demonstrated in her first year. Franchisees with an entrepreneurial drive and love of education aren’t likely to find a more fitting opportunity than Best In Class.