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From Bank Executive to Assisted Living Franchise Owner | Wall Street Journal Profile

brightstar care

On March 28, 2013, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece about franchisees who own and operate more than one location. The piece features BrightStar Care multi-unit franchise owners Jeff Tews and Susan Rather, who operate multiple locations across central, southern, and western Wisconsin, and why Tews left a highly successful banking career to run a home care franchise. Tews and Rather also recently acquired a BrightStar Care in the Twin Cities and have partnered with BrightStar to open the first BrightStar Care senior assisted living franchise facility in Verona, Wisconsin, which broke ground earlier this month. Here is an excerpted from “Leaving One Business To Launch Another.”

Seven years ago, Jeffrey Tews was a senior vice president at a major bank, overseeing 400 employees in offices across the U.S. Today, Mr.Tews and his wife, Susan Rather, work from their own corporate office in Madison, Wis., from which they oversee the 500 caregivers and 27 full-time staff that work in their four BrightStar Care – home care franchises across Wisconsin.

Mr. Tews is exactly what franchisors seek in multi-unit franchisees, says Brian Miller, COO of The Entrepreneur’s Source, a franchise­ matching service in Southbury, Conn. Franchisors want people “with executive experience within corporations who are used to running their own territory or region, who would never be satisfied running a single franchise unit and want a larger slice of the pie. They understand what it means to grow a business and build a team of people. Because they are looking to build more wealth and equity than other franchisees, they will be more aggressive opening new units.”

Adapting Skills

Mr. Tews says his corporate career helped drive his franchise growth. “The original BrightStar model called for hands-on owners, but I had managed corporate offices remotely and realized I could adapt those skills to franchising,” he says. Mr. Tews gives his branch managers the ability “to act like owners,” by setting their own rates for in-home care and other services, billing customers and hiring and firing employees.

“If Susan and I were making every decision and talking about every situation, we’d never be capable of such growth,” he says. …

“But the return on investment for multi-unit franchising can go beyond financial and business success.”

“We had an email last week from the family of a woman who had difficulty at night in her assisted living franchise facility. After we sent in a caregiver to sit with her over­ night and read to her, she calmed down and they had peace of mind. That is so rewarding.”