bannerFranchisee Stories

The Great Franchisee: Kristen Maines, Sylvan Learning, New York

The former tennis pro and University of Buffalo athletics coach is leveraging her love of mentorship to open a new Sylvan location in Amherst, New York.

“Athletics and education have always gone hand in hand for me,” says Kristen Maines, a former NCAA Division I tennis player and University of Buffalo athletics coach who is now one of Sylvan Learning*’s newest franchisees.

Maines was looking for an opportunity to combine her love for coaching with her desire to own a business when she became aware of a local Sylvan Learning Center that was up for sale. Right away, she said, she knew it was the perfect opportunity.

We talked to Maines to learn more about her journey to becoming a Sylvan franchisee.

1851 Franchise: What did you do before franchising?

Kristen Maines: I was born and raised in Amherst. I attended the University of Buffalo for my master’s in higher education. I have been in college athletics my entire career, and I have a lot of experience on the athletics side of education. I was also the head pro at our local tennis country club. Athletics and education have always gone hand in hand for me.

1851: How did you initially find out about franchising? 

Maines: Franchising wasn’t really on our radar; we were looking at other businesses to purchase. The support on the backend was what was appealing to us. We can still have that business drive. We liked the potential for growth. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

1851: Why did you pick Sylvan Learning? What excited you most about the potential?

Maines: My husband and I had been looking for something for a while, and the center had been for sale. Given our current economic climate and my experience in education, Sylvan Learning really stood out to me. After seeing how much they do for their franchisees, I was sold.

1851: What value do you see your business providing to Amherst?

Maines: There are huge school districts along with private and charter schools within the territory that I purchased. Given that the territory I purchased is so large, we want to explore satellite locations and maybe another brick-and-mortar location.

We have a new center director who is starting with me. We are both people-oriented and customer service-oriented. The previous owner wasn’t local, so now we are local people taking over, which will be great for the community.



With more than 40 years of experience and more than 750 points of presence throughout North America, Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of personal learning for students in grades K-12. Sylvan is transforming how students learn, inspiring them to succeed in school and in life. Sylvan’s proven tutoring approach blends amazing teachers with SylvanSync™ technology on the iPad® for an engaging learning experience. Sylvan also leads the way with Sylvan EDGE—STEM and accelerated courses and Sylvan Prep —college and test prep courses. Sylvan supports families through every stage of the academic journey. For more information, visit or

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