Larry Showfety and his wife needed to find a child care center they felt comfortable entrusting with their children. They searched for the ideal center, visiting every center they came across. But it was only when he toured Lightbridge Academy in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, that Showfety knew he’d found ‘the one'.
Since 1997, Lightbridge Academy has provided care, guidance and early education and child care services to families in local communities. The brand has been a standout within its industry due to its Circle of Care philosophy and innovative, integration of technology in an early childhood learning environment.
After owning his own training and consulting firm for 20 years, Showfety decided it was time to pursue his passion for child care. His wife was involved in marketing for a cable company that worked with Lightbridge Academy, and the pair attended business and charity events involving the premier early education and child care brand. Through his wife’s network, Showfety was able to learn more about the Lightbridge Academy franchise opportunity. After spending time with the Lightbridge staff and meeting some of the executives, Showfety began to recognize in himself a growing desire to make a career change.
“The more I thought about it, the more I realized that, although my business was performing a service for others, it wasn’t the same level of value as the service Lightbridge Academy provides to children, parents and the community. I also wanted to be more involved with the community and have better work/life balance with my weekends and evenings free to be with my family. Unfortunately, running a consulting firm doesn’t allow for that type of schedule,” said Showfety.
With this realization, Showfety spent a year trying to figure out what he would do after selling his company. He had hit a wall, uncertain of exactly where to go next but certain that his next move needed a community element. Furthermore, he wanted to make sure that he was partnering with a company and investing in an industry that he could be committed to putting 100 percent of his time and effort into.
Showfety said, “Once I met the home office team at Lightbridge Academy, and immediately saw how knowledgeable and professional they all were, I realized that this opportunity was exactly what I’d been looking for. It had been under my nose the entire time. It felt like home so partnering with them felt right. It’s easy to sit back and say that the company’s marketing is great and what draws people in, but that doesn’t even begin to touch the root of what the success of Lightbridge is: It’s the people.”
He added that, the leadership team is accessible and acutely tapped into franchisee success. Lightbridge Academy is core value driven and naturally oriented to having a supportive culture which extends to the communities it serves
“It’s a childcare organization that marked the community checkbox on my list,” said Showfety. “There’s children and family interaction and it provides a sustainable business model for my growing family, too. The Lightbridge Circle of Care philosophy and vision is supported at every level and fulfilled within every facet of the company.
For Showfety, the bigger picture of a shared brand vision and culture of care to be compelling. Caring for children and families ultimately served as an unshakeable calling. He sees that passion shared throughout the Lightbridge Academy system.
“We see life similarly,” he said. “We seek to serve all customers in the best way possible, and at the highest level of quality and standards. It is rewarding to be able to reassure parents that their children will be well taken care of and, as a result, ensure that both children and parents feel secure and happy.
An active member of the community, Showfety enjoys being a volunteer for local organizations. He stated that previously he was involved in and spearheaded various community organizations throughout his life.
“I’ve been coaching individuals and a member of volunteer organizations for countless years,” Showfety said. “Being a positive force is important to me. I saw that connection with Lightbridge Academy. It isn’t just a childcare center; we are actively working within our communities to be an asset and provide a valuable service for others.”
Showfety’s Hackensack location is slated to open in early 2020 and is securely positioned between the local police and fire stations. The development process has been extended, but Showfety emphasized that if something is to be done right, it has to take time. Once the building is up, Showfety expressed that the most important next step will be identifying the right staff, as Lightbridge Academy employees are on the front line of providing care and educational services. Showfety also looks to open another center in the future after his first location is up and running.
“I may only have one location for now, but I know it deserves 100 percent of my attention, just like children need,” said Showfety. “Aside from the building being established, I want to foster the Lightbridge culture among our staff and nurture and support them. I cannot wait to bring the Lightbridge mission to Hackensack and make a difference in the lives of children and families.”
Lightbridge Academy’s start-up initial investment ranges between $549,228 to $767,635 with a franchise fee of $40,000. To learn more about franchising opportunities with Lightbridge Academy, visit https://lightbridgeacademyfranchise.com/.