Cully Fredricksen is a jack of all trades. For several decades, he’s balanced careers in acting and massage therapy. Now, he’s added business owner to his repertoire. If you told him this twenty years ago, however, he would have laughed.
“I was an artist,” Fredricksen said. “I had no interest in business.”
Fredricksen spent years entertaining people on stage, in film and most recently, as a character in a hit Star Wars video game. In between acting stints, he took on a more fulfilling role as a massage therapist, helping stressed clients find their zen and kneading knots for his more active patients. Five years ago, his career in massage therapy was jeopardized when he hurt his wrist. With acting taking a backseat, he was left wondering how he would fill his time and support his family.
Fredricksen connected with his brother-in-law, Mark Hemmeter, who had recently founded a franchise concept called Office Evolution. At the time, Office Evolution only had locations open in Colorado, leaving Fredricksen a prime opportunity to bring the first location to his home state of California.
“We had been expanding around the state but had yet to open a location outside of Colorado,” Hemmeter said. “The small business climate in California was growing, and by bringing a business to the area that supported this development, we knew we had an opportunity to be successful.”
Office Evolution provides flexible office spaces, executive suites, and virtual offices to independent professionals and small business owners, making office space more affordable for those looking to have a quiet, professional space to focus.
This notion of helping small business owners have a place to build their client base and grow appealed to Fredricksen, and while he found that his lack of business experience was intimidating, Hemmeter saw potential.
“He’s a passionate guy, and he’s very likeable one-on-one which is crucial in business,” Hemmeter said.
By the end of a two-week trip in the Alps, Hemmeter had convinced Fredricksen to take the leap. At the time, he was residing in Mill Valley, California—a community that sits across the bay from San Francisco. The area was initially thought of as a risk because of the high cost of real estate and the density of competition according to Hemmeter, but it has since proven to be a lucrative choice for the brand. As it turns out, local business owners were hungry for a space that would prevent them from having to sacrifice long hours traveling back and forth from the city.
“We have clients who have kids that go to school two miles away, and they don’t want to miss their conferences or sporting events,” Fredricksen said.
By using Craigslist as a starting point to reach his first clients, Fredricksen was eventually able to accrue new customers through networking and word of mouth. “Referrals who have come in as guests have become clients,” according to Fredricksen.
While the Mill Valley location was the first Office Evolution to open outside of Colorado, the company has since grown to 16 states and over 50 locations. Now, Hemmeter says he hopes to tap into the Northwest region and further into Texas thanks in part to the many franchisees that bought into the concept initially, like Fredricksen.
“One of the great things about franchising is that you can take someone with little to no business experience and make them into a successful operator,” he said. “Cully is a great example of a franchisee who followed our model and has thrived bringing the concept to a new state. We hope to mimic that success with operators in suburban areas outside of Portland, Seattle, Dallas and Houston.”
Fredricksen remains a very hands on operator, sometimes even manning the front desk. He says this approach has helped him learn all spokes of the business and to build meaningful relationships with his clients. “I want all rooms full all the time,” he said. “I want our clients to multiply every year, and I think we have an opportunity to do just that.”