Since launching his first Lightbridge Academy in Bethlehem Township nearly three years ago, franchisee Steve DiNunzio is on track to open his second center in February of 2019 in nearby Allentown. DiNunzio, who was initially attracted to franchising as a way to transition away from his longtime career in banking and finance, was specifically drawn to the early education and childcare franchise’s emphasis on core values.
DiNunzio explained, “I wanted to invest in a brand that set its franchise owners up for success. I was also interested in an opportunity that would allow me to spend time with my family and to keep living the same lifestyle. Once I met the franchise company team and learned about the opportunity in greater detail, I was convinced that Lightbridge Academy could maintain the same quality of my life”.
Helping launch the Allentown location is former Bethlehem Township center director Heather Semple. She has worked alongside DiNunzio since the opening of his first center.
“I helped Steve launch the Bethlehem Township location about three years ago,” said Semple. “It’s been an exciting journey so far, and I’m thrilled to be able to help launch the new location, as well.”
Semple, whose extensive career in the education and child care sectors includes working for Crayola as a product and exhibit designer and helping launch a preschool in New Jersey, was instantly attracted to the opportunity with Lightbridge Academy and its Circle of Care philosophy.
“Lightbridge Academy’s Circle of Care philosophy - the concept that there are many partners that help support a child and family and everyone in that Circle of Care deserves equal consideration when making decisions - that really stuck out to me,” said Semple. “The more I thought about it, the more I believed in the approach and wanted to help bring this philosophy to the families of Eastern Pennsylvania.”
DiNunzio’s decision to open his second location in Lehigh County ultimately comes after seeing the enrollment growth and success of his first center.
“I signed my first franchise agreement with the intent to grow alongside the brand once I was comfortable with how everything operated,” said DiNunzio. “That thought became a reality when I saw gradual and continued growth in the business, leading me to sign on for another center.”
In addition to DiNunzio’s upcoming Allentown opening, new franchisees Joe and Luana Negrao recently opened their first center, also in Lehigh County, in Bethlehem. The brand is continuing to grow throughout the Pennsylvania market, and has plans to add up to 12 locations over the next few years.
"Pennsylvania’s demographics have proven to be a great fit for Lightbridge’s quality programs and innovative approach to early childhood education and child care," said Mark Mele, Lightbridge Academy’s Senior Vice President of Franchise Development. "With the recent opening of the Negraos’ center in Bethlehem and Steve’s center in Bethlehem Township and his second center opening soon in Allentown, the Lightbridge brand is building strong awareness in the market as we continue expand across the state establishing Lightbridge Academy as The Solution for Working Parents®."
DiNunzio and Semple recently held a ceremony at the site of the new Allentown location, joined by Upper Macungie Township representatives along with Lightbridge Academy founder and CEO, Guy Falzarano, VP of Area Development David Falzarano, and Mele.
“While we weren’t able to plan an official groundbreaking ceremony, the bricklaying event still felt very special, almost symbolic,” said Semple. “We look at what we do here at Lightbridge Academy as a way of helping lay the foundation, brick by brick, of early education and future success for families and children, and we can’t wait to expand that help to the residents of Allentown.”
To read more about franchising opportunities with Lightbridge Academy, visit http://lightbridgeacademyfranchise.com/.