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The Great Franchisee: Matthew Horist, Footprints Floors, Western Michigan

Western Michigan’s first Footprints Floors franchisee was a professional opera singer and an IT tech before arriving at the flooring brand.

Matthew Horist, a former opera singer and IT professional, is pursuing his entrepreneurial dream by opening the first Footprints Floors* franchise in Western Michigan, a growing area growing with an increasing demand for home-improvement services. 

After graduating from Indiana University with a degree in music, Horist established a career as an opera singer for eight years before moving back to Michigan to work in IT.

Horist decided to go into franchising after his friend shared with him the tremendous success rates the backing of franchisors provides. After exploring a wide variety of brands, Horist ultimately chose Footprints Floors to enter the increasing demand for home improvement services due to more people spending time at home. Horist is launching the first Footprints Floors territory in Western Michigan.

1851 Franchise: What did you do before franchising?

Matthew Horist: I was born and raised in Western Michigan. I went to school at Indiana University where I studied music and was an opera singer for eight years after college. I then moved back home and fell into the IT world. I consulted in the tech industry for a  few years and then received a permanent position. After that, I bought a small business, a physical security company. After my partner was involved in an accident, I founded Lakeshore Resources, an IT staffing company. I’ve spent the past 10 years running Lakeshore. 

1851: How did you initially find out about franchising? 

Horist: I had a buddy who has done really well for himself through franchising. I read a book on franchising called “The E Myth” by Michael E. Gerber that raved about how franchising actually works. Rather than reinventing the wheel, go with something that works. 

1851: Why did you choose Footprints Floors? What excited you most about the potential?

Horist: I started looking at franchises about two to three years ago and looked at everything under the sun from ice cream to fitness to fast food. I wanted to go into home improvement because it’s showing huge growth right now. I worked with a broker to find the right brand for me, and when he introduced me to Footprints Floors I knew it was a perfect fit.

1851: What are your dreams with the business? What does the future look like?

Horist: We’re redefining this market. I want to really raise the bar in terms of flooring in Western Michigan. Bryan Park, the CEO is infectious. I have learned so much about flooring and want to do great work at a good price. This brand has given me a passion for people having an affordable option without sacrificing quality.

1851 Franchise: What value do you see your business providing to Western Michigan?

Horist: West Michigan is growing — everyone is leaving the coast and moving inland. It’s a nice, tight-knit community. We’re bringing something that works to the area. There’s a lot more demand than supply for home improvement in general.

1851 Franchise: What advice would you have for others looking at buying a franchise?

Horist: Read “The E Myth”, and find your passion.



Upon his return to Littleton, Colorado after serving in the U.S. Air Force, Bryan Park noticed that Denver’s flooring industry lacked a higher level of customer service and sophistication. So, in 2008, he founded Footprints Floors, which today specializes in installing hardwood floors, carpet, tile floors, backsplashes and laminates. With more than 50 current locations, Footprints Floors offers franchisees a robust support system including a call center, flexible hours for work-life balance and a low cost of entry with outstanding economics.

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