Lightbridge Academy had an extremely successful year in 2018, and is keeping that momentum going in 2019. To begin, the early education and child care brand was recognized on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 Franchises Ranking as one of the best franchise opportunities available.
The company expanded to 36 locations in 2018 and has over 70 more in development. New franchisee deals will help the brand exceed its goal of having 12 open units by the end of 2020. Based on the company’s pipeline, the franchise brand is expecting to open a record number of locations this year.
“It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come,” CEO and Founder Guy Falzarano said. “We first opened in 1997 as Rainbow Academy, and since then we’ve rebranded and grown into a highly-respected leader in the early education and child care industry.”
The brand opened its 35th location earlier this year in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Six locations followed in the second quarter of 2018. These locations included three new centers in New Jersey and the brand’s first-ever Virginia center, located in Virginia Beach. The corporate team, which is based in New Jersey, even chartered a bus to the Virginia Beach center to demonstrate their support at the grand opening.
“It’s very important to the Lightbridge team that all franchisees feel supported every step of the way, regardless of where they open a franchise,” Falzarano said. “That means not only being there for them when there’s a problem and when there’s something to celebrate.”
Lightbridge Academy already has a head start for 2019 thanks to recent franchise partnerships with Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway franchisees Pankaj Savaliya and Mit Desai, as well as Dunkin’ Donuts, Shell, 7-Eleven, Baskin Robbins and Moe’s Southwest Grill franchisee Vijay Shah, and his sons Manan and Neel.
“It’s already been quite the year, and we always like to think the best is yet to come,” Falzarano said. “As we bring multi-unit franchise veterans onboard, it confirms just how viable and strong of a franchise offering we are presenting.”
Lightbridge Academy attributes its success to a mix of providing a high quality of care to both children and their families, a proven franchise system that can succeed in any market and an exceptional network of franchisees who exemplify Lightbridge Academy’s values.
“Here at Lightbridge Academy, we’re not just taking care of the children,” Lightbridge Academy Chief Operating Officer and President Gigi Schweikert said. “We are also here to support families. We take our core values and ‘Circle of Care’ philosophy seriously, and constantly strive to exceed our customer’s expectations and go above and beyond what is expected in this industry.”
The hard work has paid off. Earlier this year, Lightbridge Academy ranked in the Franchise Times Top 200+ List, which lists the 500 largest franchise systems in the U.S. by global systemwide sales. Lightbridge Academy was categorized under the Personal Services industry.
The brand is currently looking to expand in several markets, including Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. Within the state of Virginia, Lightbridge plans to open locations in Chesterfield County, Henrico County, Norfolk and Chesapeake and add additional locations in Virginia Beach. In Pennsylvania, the company is seeking franchisees interested in opening in Bucks County, Lehigh County and Montgomery County.
Lightbridge Academy has also noted that prospective franchisees with experience in senior care might be an excellent fit for the brand. “What thrills me most about this brand, in addition to the quality services we provide to families, is that through our core values, we have been able to create strong and long-lasting relationships with our franchisees,” Senior Vice President of Franchise Development Mark Mele said. “Lightbridge Academy tends to attract a certain type of franchisee, someone who wants is service-oriented, wants to help others and also be a leader in their community. We’re are grateful to have those franchisees in our system now.”
The startup costs for a Lightbridge Academy center range from $541,228 to $733,635. The franchise fee is $40,000. To learn more about owning a Lightbridge Academy franchise, visit https://lightbridgeacademyfranchise.com/.