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Crafting a New Chapter: Homebuilding Couple Becomes Voodoo Brewing Franchisees

The Towles have built custom homes for 30 years, but now they are interested in crafting a new type of home: a brewery that offers the community a great place to get together.

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
8:08AM 03/30/24

Mashelle and Keith Towles have decided to start the transition out of their roles in residential custom homebuilding and into the role of business owners with their own Voodoo Brewing franchise in Fort Myers, Florida.

The husband and wife team have always loved going out to eat and trying different craft beers. They had considered the idea of starting their own brewpub from scratch, but when they came across Voodoo, they realized that franchising offered them support and removed some of the  bigger barriers to entry. Plus, the brand’s culture was exactly what the Towles were looking for. 

“They speak our language,” said Mashelle. “The culture is so fun; we’ve been to a lot of different breweries and tried a lot of different beers, and they've condensed a lot of different styles into one brand, which we find to be very attractive for a lot of the craft beer connoisseurs.”

The pair has been living in Fort Myers for over a decade, with deep family roots in the area, and are looking forward to building a sense of community within their Voodoo Brewing location.

“We’ve lived in Fort Myers for 13 years and love the downtown area. Keith’s granddaddy was one of the first county commissioners and we want to put our footprint on the area just like he did,” said Mashelle.

1851 Franchise spoke with the Towles about their journey into franchising and their plans for the future.  


1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Mashelle: I joined Keith's Construction firm TowlesCorp of SW FL roughly 6 years ago. Prior to that,  I was anchored in the salon industry for roughly 19 years and needed a new direction. Knowing the transition that I was going to make in advance,  I sold my salon that I had in Fort Myers and I dove right into the design sector of the Custom Home industry with Keith and have not looked back since. With both of us needing a new journey to embark on,  and having the precious knowledge of building these businesses from the ground up and the challenges that we have faced,  it only made sense to purchase into a franchise model.

Keith: For about 30 years I’ve been doing that. I bartended when I had just finished high school and did that for 7 years. During COVID, we were looking for a new project. I kept going back to the restaurant or bar scene. There are a lot of other franchises out there that just didn’t seem as exciting. We love going out to eat and we are always looking for the type of atmosphere that Voodoo has. It felt like it was a good fit for what we wanted to do. 

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Mashelle: We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. We didn’t want to be responsible for coming up with all of the brand ideas. It was nice to have somebody who had content in play for us and who could support us.

Keith: We don’t have to buy all the brewing equipment, which removed a lot of the barriers that were in place when we considered opening our own brewpub from scratch. It is a little easier to have someone else who is brewing the beer and is familiar with the process.

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Mashelle: There is no other Beer Culture like Voodoo Brewing Co that is in a Franchise ready model. Everything about the brand attracted us. It is colorful, playful and the names of the beers will enroll so many different age groups because they are all named either from Movie clips or music lyrics . The brand is so creative and we just loved and gravitated to that.

Keith: It was one of the only brewery franchises we came across. We were 16th to sign, and now they’re around 80. It was exciting to be a part of something new and growing.

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Keith: After we get this up and running, we would love to open another one up down the line. We want to create a whole family here between the kitchen and bar staff and the customers. We're not just looking to open this up and let it run. We're going to be here all the time and we want to meet the people coming in and get to know them.

Keith: We want to build this community. The brand does a lot in terms of local fundraisers and that’s a big part of what we will be doing with our location, as well.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Keith: Due to the nature of the Franchise we purchased into and that it required a full kitchen to be built out,  we have had every possible hiccup because our kitchen is where the bank vault was (the building was a bank), so it was a lot of work getting the plumbing and everything we needed to be installed. On a monetary basis, my advice would be: if you can find a unit that already has a kitchen, that will make the job a lot easier.


More than just a brewery, Voodoo Brewing Co. is a community of passionate beer lovers dedicated to pushing the boundaries of craft beer. Alongside world-renowned “liquid gold,” provided directly from the brewery, local owners offer killer food, craft cocktails and hard seltzer in their community-focused brewpubs. Each location has a customized logo, locally inspired menu and consistent local events, allowing Voodoo Brewing Co. franchise partners to become truly immersed in their communities. With 18 locations across multiple states, Voodoo Brewing Co. has already captured the hearts of beer enthusiasts nationwide and has proven itself as the fastest-growing brewpub franchise in the world. Now, it is on track to quickly grow roots across the nation. For more information, visit