When Victor Peirce signed his license agreement to become a franchisee with Sylvan Learning in 1985, he had no idea that he would stick with the brand for his entire adult career. Peirce and his wife, Bette, owned four Sylvan Learning locations throughout Michigan, including centers in Jackson and Lansing. Peirce said his commitment to the brand was due to the perfect formula of support from the corporate team and the fulfilling feeling he had leaving work each day.
“Seeing the positive impact that we could make on students was extremely rewarding. I recently bumped into a previous student, who is now an adult. He walked up to me, and as he stood in front of me, I noticed his eyes were misted over. He said ‘you did everything for me.’ I can’t even describe to you how that made me feel,” Peirce said.
Throughout the years, Peirce noted that working with the Sylvan brand allowed him to have a great work—life balance. His sons, Reid and Kyle, started helping out at Sylvan when they were in middle school and then working as classroom assistants in high school. His oldest, Reid, began his teaching career at Sylvan. Peirce believes being around the brand is what inspired Reid to become a high school physics teacher.
“He will tell you that teaching at Sylvan was the best training he ever received,” Peirce said. “He learned in a perfect atmosphere, and it was a great modeling opportunity for his future. The Sylvan brand had a tremendously positive impact on both of our sons.”
It’s the impact the brand made on his family, as well as Sylvan students, that made leaving a difficult decision. After 31 years, Peirce and Bette are retiring. When they announced their plans, Peirce said that corporate jumped into action to help them in their next steps.
“It was so smooth. They gave us a lot of good ideas and truly had our backs. We ended up selling to one of our own managers because we knew that she was well trained and that she had the drive and capability to run successful centers. Sylvan provided training and walked her through what she needed,” Peirce said.
Similar to Peirce, Sylvan Franchisee Maggie Crawford began her journey with the brand in 1981 when she signed on with a location in Spokane, Washington. Back then, the franchise system was just planting its roots and craved dedicated owners. Crawford fit the bill.
“It’s a great brand. The organization that they have is incredibly supportive of the franchisees,” said Crawford. “I spent 36 years with this company for a reason. I went home every single day knowing I made a difference in somebody’s life.”
When Crawford announced she would be retiring, emails from corporate began flooding in. She said the franchise development team was there for her every step of the way to help with her resale.
“The Sylvan team knows we aren’t going to be around forever and we have to move forward with our lives when we get to a certain age. They understand it and that is key,” Crawford said.
With the hands on help Peirce and Crawford have received from the Sylvan brand, the two say they can now fully focus on themselves and their retirement. After decades of successful careers, they’re now able to enjoy the freedom and financial gains to afford spending their time truly enjoying life after Sylvan.
“My wife and I are avid boaters and have plans to spend a lot of time doing that. We also want to dive into more volunteer work in our area,” Peirce said.
“I’m throwing away my alarm clock,” Crawford said.