What It Means to Be a Goddard School Franchisee Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Three Vignettes of 30 Years in Franchising
Goddard School franchisees and their unique stories and backgrounds have always strengthened the preschool franchise system
The reasons they franchise with The Goddard School make it even stronger.
While the financial benefits of opening The Goddard School can be enticing, most franchisees who open a School are motivated by more than financial stability or the chance to run their own business. Opening a School lets franchisees give back to their communities, establish a legacy for their families and join a successful business that they can grow with for years.
“As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we reflect on what it means to be a part of the Goddard system,” said Joe Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), franchisor of The Goddard School. “We’ve seen Goddard School parents become franchisees who have, in turn, brought their grown children into the business. We’ve also seen franchisees grow with us from almost the beginning, some who’ve been with us for more than 20 years. It’s exciting to experience this kind of progress and to know that these trends will continue as our system grows.”
Many prospective Goddard franchisees are weary of corporate life, too young to retire and eager to run their own businesses. When a Goddard School opens its doors, franchisees provide young children with a chance to learn and grow in a nurturing and safe environment. They’re also establishing a legacy for themselves and their families as they start a long-term business.
Work-Life Balance for 25 Years
Sushama Patil moved to the U.S. from India in 1985. She and her husband, Ravi, were looking for a business venture flexible enough that they could make a good living but still enjoy time with their family.
As she researched Goddard, Sushama thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity. She wanted the chance to have a Monday-to-Friday schedule, take a hands-on approach to the daily operations and provide a valuable service to the community.
This enthusiasm for The Goddard School model led Sushama and Ravi to open their first location in Dayton, NJ in 1993. A few years later, they opened their second location in Parsippany.
The Dayton location opened when The Goddard School franchise, established in 1988, was in its infancy. Now, as Sushama celebrates 25 years of running a successful School in Dayton, she admits she never imagined achieving that milestone.
“It's been an interesting 25 years,” she said. “My children literally grew up in The Goddard School. When the parents pick their kids up, they’re happy. It’s a good feeling. I can sleep well.”
A Search for Childcare Led to Franchising
A few years ago, Allison and David McMurtry began searching for the right preschool for their young son, Colin. Their search merged with their long-term goals of wanting to make a comfortable living while giving back to the community.
As the Denver-area couple witnessed Colin’s social, motor and cognitive development progress, they realized they could provide the same educational opportunities to other families in the area. They decided to open a Goddard School in the Highlands community of Denver, Colorado. The School has been open since 2017.
“We want to help young families stay in Denver when they have children and not feel like they need to move to the suburbs for school options,” said David McMurtry.
“I feel very strongly that all children should have access to school as early as possible,” Allison added. “I now know the power of developing cognitive, language, motor and social skills at an early age. We’re wiring their brains now for a lifetime of social and academic success.”
Establishing a Family Legacy
When Anne Pope tried to find high-quality childcare for her youngest son, she struggled to find a place that offered the right mix of learning and fun in a safe, nurturing environment. Having little luck in finding the right place, she approached her father, Don O’Brien, who was recently retired, to help her brainstorm a solution.
“We came up with the idea of starting our own [childcare],” Anne said.
They did research and spoke with a licensor in their state to gather additional information on the requirements for opening a preschool in Virginia. Then, they discovered The Goddard School and fell in love with the business model and learning philosophy.
“It quickly became clear that it was a lucrative investment,” Don said. “I warmed up to the business very quickly when I saw what Goddard put together.”
When the father-daughter team opened The Goddard School located in Chesapeake, Virginia, they didn’t imagine they would later open a second location in Lynnhaven. Nor did they imagine that their family would eventually include three generations of Goddard School franchisees.
Taylor Pope, Anne’s son and Don’s grandson, decided to join the family business in 2017. He is in the process of opening The Goddard School located in Washington, D.C.
“The D.C. area is booming, and providing a convenience for parents is key,” Taylor said. “This is a great opportunity because the location is amazing. It’s a great spot for Goddard, and the School brings a whole new aspect to the community.”