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Lightbridge Academy® Signs Three-Unit Deal in Houston; Second Franchise Group to Sign for Texas Expansion in 2022

The multi-unit signing is the first in a plan to build 30 to 35 centers across Houston and fill an essential need for quality child care and early education in this booming Texas city.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 11:11AM 11/03/22

Lightbridge Academy®, the fast-growing early education and child care franchise, aims to reach 150 centers by 2025 and has identified several markets across the country as primed for the concept. One of the brand’s growth markets is Houston, Texas, a market with the capacity for about 30 to 35 centers. Recently, the team signed its first agreement in Houston — a three-unit deal with experienced entrepreneurs and multi-brand franchisees Samit DarneBhautik Patel and Premal Dhebariya.

“Houston has such vast areas continuing to expand,” said Jim DiRugeris, Senior Vice President of Franchise Sales. “Only the Dallas and Phoenix metro areas grew more aggressively. Young families are continuing to move from other states to Texas. So it's a great opportunity to enter the market and serve these Houstonian families.”

Houston has seen major growth over recent years. According to the census, Houston is currently growing at a rate of 0.88% annually and its population has increased by 1.40% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 2,313,238 in 2020. The number of children under the age of five has also increased in the area, with home construction booming as more and more families move into the suburbs and need child care.

With its expansion into Texas, Lightbridge Academy is filling a need for high-quality child care, as nearly two-thirds of the nation’s working families are already having trouble finding child care, according to the research and advocacy organization Children at Risk. In addition to that statistic, upward of 4 million child care slots could be permanently lost if more is not done to stabilize the industry. The child care industry in Texas has an estimated impact of $8.7 billion on the state’s economy, according to a 2019 report from the nonprofit policy think tank the Committee for Economic Development (CED). Maintaining this piece of the economic puzzle is critical to the state’s economic health and provides ample opportunity for Lightbridge to make a difference in the lives of working parents and their children.  

DiRugeris stated that the team is experiencing strong interest in Lightbridge from those researching child care franchising in Texas because of the brand's high-quality educational curriculum and program but also because of the services and technology available to support busy working parents. 

“We utilize industry-leading technology to create a more secure and healthier learning environment and a deeper connection between home and school. One of the services we offer is the ParentView® internet monitoring system, and along with an e-Communication app, we provide a real-time and ongoing connection for families,” said DiRugeris. “With center-wide air purification and filtration and facial recognition security systems, we set the Gold Standard for health and safety in the child care industry along with the high-quality educational child care program that families expect.”

Now, in line with this recent three-unit signing, DiRugeris said the team is currently looking for real estate to start the process of opening the first center in the market. Lightbridge Academy utilizes a customized technology platform and analytic modeling to perform extensive research. The proactive approach to market planning and site selection has helped identify prime areas to locate centers. As a result, the brand is focusing on establishing a presence in the flourishing markets of Katy, Cypress, The Woodlands, Atascocita and Pearland. 

“With 25 years of child care operations and 10 of those years in franchising, Lightbridge Academy is highly experienced in expanding into major markets like Houston,” DiRugeris said. “We are thrilled to welcome our first multi-unit franchise partners in the area and are looking forward to teaming up with other passionate and qualified entrepreneurs eager to become The Solution for Working Parents® in the communities they serve.”

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About Lightbridge Academy®: 

Established in 1997, the company was founded as a family business based on core values and a Circle of Care philosophy that places equal importance on the needs of children, their families, teachers, center owners and the community. Lightbridge Academy provides quality early education and child care programs to children aged six weeks through kindergarten. The company currently has over 140 child care centers either open or in development throughout Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. In response to COVID-19, Lightbridge Academy launched The Lightbridge Promise as the Gold Standard for health & safety in the child care industry. In 2020, the company was featured on the Inc. 5000 ranking, Franchise Times Top 200+ awards, and on Newsweek’s 2021 list of America’s Best Customer Service. In 2022, Lightbridge Academy was featured for the 7th year on Entrepreneur Magazine's Franchise 500 and for the 2nd year on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.