From One Veteran to Another – Advice on Entrepreneurship

Many veterans face similar feelings after they complete their service, “what should I do next”? And after spending a portion of their life reporting to others, a common answer is: “I want to be my own boss” mixed with wanting to go into an industry they are passionate about or haven’t had a chance to explore thus far in their lives. That was the exact scenario for Michael Adams, a new PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans franchisee.

Why PJ’s Coffee Was the Right Fit

Three years ago, PJ’s Coffee, a New Orleans-based coffeehouse that prides itself on their “southern hospitality” experience, the freshest products, and better beans with superior roasting technique, initiated an annual contest, announced on Veterans Day, that gives one lucky U.S. Veteran a franchise license for free. Michael, who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years and has been a federal government employee for the last 14 years, starting to look into the next chapter in his life.

After suggestions from family he applied for the PJ’s franchise giveaway, he decided to take a leap of faith and submit his application for the 2020 contest. The submission process was simple, requiring Michael to complete a few forms and submit a video on why he was passionate about becoming a PJ’s Coffee franchisee. Michael has been a fan and brand advocate for PJ’s Coffee for a large portion of his life. Living in the south, he has been able to indulge in the carefully crafted coffees and grew to love the brand. His passion for coffee mixed with his hunger to dive into the world of business and supply chain management was a “stars-aligning moment” – and he knew PJ’s was the perfect fit. In addition, being in the Army taught Michael the discipline and structure that goes hand-in-hand with being a successful business owner.

Fast forward to spring of 2020 – the world was in lockdown and facing a new reality brought on by the Coronavirus. Amid the panic and chaos, Michael got a call that would change his life. He was notified that he had won the franchise giveaway and would be PJ’s Coffee’s newest franchisee. In a time of uncertainty, he described it as a bright light in his life.

What is The Process Like for a Veteran Turned Franchisee?

As any franchisee and franchisor knows, there are many stages leading up to finally opening your doors for business – adding COVID-19 into the mix which has switched things up for franchisee and franchisors opening process.

Currently, Michael is in the site selection and business capital phase. He is hoping to open his location near Stockbridge, GA. Even with COVID, the new franchisee has been eager to get his business off the ground and has overcome consistent hurdles put in front of him. The two previous veterans who were awarded franchises from this contest were up and running their coffeehouses within a year of finding out they were selected. Bobby Mounts, the winner of the 2019 giveaway, opened his coffeehouse in July amid a global pandemic. This is thanks to the unmatched support and dedication from the corporate team.

For other veterans looking to dive into entrepreneurship Michael says, “It is crucial to find a proven business model with supportive franchisors and PJ’s Coffee offers exactly that.” He also recommends looking into a “growing and evergreen industry” – and with gourmet coffee on the rise and the coffee industry currently estimated to be worth $48 billion, PJ’s fits the mold perfectly. Additionally, PJ’s Coffee offers an incentive for veterans looking to make the leap into running their own business.

Not only should a prospective franchisee look into the industry of the brand but seeking out a culture that fits your personality and values is a huge must as well. “Throughout this entire process, the team at PJ’s Coffee has been nothing but supportive and for that I am beyond thankful. Not only am I lucky enough to be working in an industry I am passionate about, but I am working with people at corporate who genuinely believe in me and are rooting for my success,” said Michael.

“The team has hosted virtual ‘Join the Team’ days, which are truly welcoming and feel like the real deal,” Michael mused. “In these meetings I have been lucky enough to hear from current franchisees on their journey with PJ’s Coffee.” This was important to Michael as it demonstrates firsthand the successful system PJ’s has created for its franchisees.

Though the 2021 submissions recently closed at the end of January, interested veterans should visit www.pjsfranchise.com/vets/ to learn more about veteran discount opportunities and receive a franchise brochure.