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How the Mother of Home Franchise Concepts’ CDO Turned Her Budget Blinds Franchise into a Family Business

After initially buying five territories, Elizabeth Hock recruited her family to help her run 12 Budget Blinds franchise territories over 18 years.

For Budget Blinds franchisee Elizabeth Hock, all it took was a few phone calls from her son Jonathan Thiessen (JT), chief development officer of Home Franchise Concepts (HFC), Budget Blinds’ parent company, for her to be sold on the franchising opportunities with the leading custom window covering brand. 

“I remember that Friday afternoon, JT called and told me he had signed on with HFC,” said Hock. “Every other Friday afternoon after that he’d call me to say he thought I would really love the brand, and eventually it worked. In three weeks my husband and I bought five territories.”

But it wasn’t just Thiessen who convinced Hock that Budget Blinds was a good investment for her and her family. It was the mission and success of the 1,150-plus territory brand that sealed the deal. 

“The five founding partners of [Budget Blinds] were very upfront, and I was impressed with the purpose of their business,” said Hock. “Ownership has changed since I’ve been with the brand, but the purpose has not.”

After initially buying five territories the Hocks split them up among different family members who have continued to operate and grow their individual franchise territories throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. Over the past 18 years, the Hock/Thiessen family members have owned and operated 12 different territories at different times. Her stepson Randy Hock is the owner of three territories in North Lancaster, East York, Lititz and Hanover, Pennsylvania, and her grandson Tim Colangelo is the owner of his own three territories in North Canton, West Akron and Green, Ohio. Stefanie Thiessen, Hock’s daughter-in-law, who recently sold her Budget Blinds territory, is still with HFC as regional operations manager and business manager supporting and helping other franchisees find success. 

“A few of my children were talking about getting involved in their own businesses,” said Hock. “I felt Budget Blinds was a good opportunity for them to take on on their own.”

Hock says that being able to work with so many family members has certainly impacted the experience of being an individual business owner. “It’s been interesting for my husband and I as parents to see how each of our children has developed different skills and talents in their own businesses,” said Hock. “Their skills are certainly different than mine. I’m the decorator, one of my sons is very competent in sales and installation and another is a strong business leader, but he’s not involved in the everyday production of the company.”

What’s unique about Hock’s family and the way they do business is that each of their businesses are separate. And Hock says that’s what has made the family so successful and what makes them feel so connected to each other and the business. 

“We’re a bit spread out all over the country, so being separate owners of the same business gives us a connection we wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Hock. “Working with family, it’s fun to share good stories and bad. Being apart and being able to use our own skills and talents has eliminated any areas of conflict that come with running a business as a family.”

Thiessien shared a similar sentiment about what it’s like to be in business with so many of his family members, saying that keeping business and family separate has made for the ultimate recipe for success. 

“It’s been amazing, and a blessing really,” said Thiessen. “Family comes first, and when my mom came to me and said she wanted to do this we sat down and solved for challenging scenarios so we could avoid future conflict. That is what’s allowed us to do this as long as we have. Thankfully it’s worked out, or I’d never be invited to holidays!”

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