Early-education and childcare franchise Lightbridge Academy is thrilled to announce the brand’s plans to open the first two North Carolina locations in 2018. The expansion is a major advancement in the franchise’s push to develop in three untapped states outside of the Mid-Atlantic, including Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina. The brand has been growing at a rapid rate, on pace to quadruple its size in the next five years and cross the 100-unit-sold mark this year.
Lightbridge Academy has been targeting several areas for development and specifically looked to North Carolina because it offers a prosperous marketplace and demographics that align with the brand’s target customer. Furthermore, the Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro areas all provide promising growth potential for the brand and its franchise partners.
The state’s first two Lightbridge Academy locations will be developed by husband-and-wife teams. Brian and Rebecca Grovenstein are looking to open a location in the Apex area and Mahesh and Neelima Ediga are eying real estate for a Cary center.
A current music teacher at Hillburn Academy, Rebecca began looking for another rewarding career venture when special projects were getting cut from the elementary school. She and her husband Brian decided it was time to venture into business ownership. Based on Rebecca’s background in education and Brian’s experience as an IT reporting & analytics manager at Credit Suisse, they were focused on finding the best early-childhood business opportunity.
“We spoke with the director at our child’s daycare center about business ownership in the childcare and education industry, and after a productive conversation, we began researching opportunities,” said Brian.
The Grovensteins learned of Lightbridge Academy from Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 List. They reached out to the brand's franchise development team to discuss details about their expansion into North Carolina. After learning about their core values and unique Circle of Care philosophy, they made an immediate connection with the brand and knew it was the perfect fit. They wanted to be a part of the brand’s success and embraced the opportunity to receive a prime territory and spearhead growth in North Carolina when they signed for a location.
“Compared to other childcare and early-education franchises, Lightbridge Academy put together all the puzzle pieces necessary to create a high-quality educational facility. We have the privilege of partnering with parents during a child’s most important years for learning. This great responsibility requires experienced and caring teachers, quality educational programs, and a strong connection with parents,” said Rebecca. “You can’t have happy children without happy teachers, and the Lightbridge Academy core values serve as the guiding principles to create a culture of care unlike any other childcare.”
Mahesh and Neelima Ediga also saw perfect alignment with the brand's core values and philosophy. Instead of focusing only on the education and care of children, as many childcare centers do, Lightbridge Academy’s Circle of Care philosophy believes it is the interconnection of many relationships that create a nurturing and rich learning environment that will positively impact a child’s life. This includes parents, educators, franchise owners, and even the community.
After migrating from India more than 20 years ago and living in several places across the U.S., the Edigas eventually settled in North Carolina about seven years ago. After working for corporate offices at several different companies throughout the country, Mahesh and Neelima decided that they were ready to dive into their first business venture by taking their careers into their own hands through franchise ownership.
The couple began looking into the countless franchise opportunities available before narrowing down their search to food and education concepts because they believed that those categories provide the biggest potential for success. Like the Grovensteins, the Edigas also found Lightbridge Academy on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list.
“We saw Lightbridge during our search for a business that would fit our values and needs,” said Mahesh. “We were extremely impressed by the growth the brand has already experienced. The partnership seemed like a natural extension of who we are. Their core values are also similar to ones we apply in our own lives. We couldn't be more excited to take part in the expansion of an already prosperous brand as one of the first Lightbridge Academy franchises launching in the great state of North Carolina.”
The Grovensteins and Edigas are currently working with the franchise real estate team to identify prime sites for their centers in the areas of Apex and Cary.
“We are so excited to have these wonderful partners ready to take this next step to develop in North Carolina,” said Mark Mele, Senior Vice President of Franchise Sales at Lightbridge Academy. “Since many areas in the state have demographics closely aligned with our target customers, we are aiming to add 10 more locations in Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro over the next few years. This is just the beginning.”