- Neighborly celebrates 10th anniversary of VetFran relaunch
- VetFran program started by Neighborly now includes 428 franchisors that offer financial discounts to veterans who want to own a franchise
- More than 2,100 veterans have become franchise owners through VetFran
- Neighborly counts 235 veterans among franchise owners
WACO, Texas – (Nov. 8, 2011) – Neighborly will celebrate this Veterans Day with special attention to the 10th anniversary since the relaunch of the VetFran program, and Dina Dwyer-Owens, chairwoman and CEO of Neighborly, along with Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter and current chair of the International Franchise Association’s VetFran committee, will travel to Washington D.C. for a special announcement with the nation’s First Lady Michelle Obama to do more in helping veterans transition to civilian life with careers and jobs in the franchising arena.
On Thursday, Nov. 10, the day before Veterans Day, a special ceremony to launch “Operation Enduring Opportunity” will take place at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to promote an industry-wide recruitment campaign to offer returning veterans career paths in franchising, including increased employment opportunities and incentives for ownership of franchise businesses through the IFA’s longstanding VetFran program.
VetFran was the brainchild of the late Don Dwyer Sr., founder of Neighborly, who wanted to thank veterans returning from the first Gulf War by offering them the best financial incentive towards owning a franchise. The program was later reborn by his daughter, Dwyer-Owens, after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Today, the program includes 428 franchise systems that voluntarily offer financial incentives to veterans seeking to become franchise small-business owners.
Through VetFran, more than 2,100 servicemen and women have become franchisees since the program’s inception. And Neighborly is one of the largest participants in the program with more than 235 veterans who have owned a franchise across its service brands.
“The men and women who protect the very freedom by which we do business have proven that they are the kind of leaders for those businesses as well,” said Dwyer-Owens. “We will continue to thank them through VetFran, helping to provide a transition to civilian life with opportunities for business ownership that they deserve.”
Thompson, who oversees one of the nation’s largest plumbing and drain cleaning franchise chains, Mr. Rooter, knows the program well. As a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps she served eight years and rose to the rank of captain. She then found a future in franchising as a successful franchise owner of Cookies By Design when she retired from service. She became a multi-unit franchisee and later the president of the organization. Then, in 2006, she took the position of president for Mr. Rooter at Neighborly.
Thompson counts her military training to follow systems as a strong foundation for her successful career in the civilian world. And in her role as chair for the IFA’s VetFran Committee, she seeks to help other military veterans achieve their dreams of business ownership through franchising.
“Celebrating our 30th anniversary this year has been an incredible achievement for Neighborly,” said Dwyer-Owens. “But celebrating the 10th anniversary of the VetFran relaunch across more than 325 participating franchise organizations is the icing on top. Together, the franchising world can do great things for business ownership, community support, the economy and more. VetFran is a shining example.”
Thompson added, “Having the support of The White House to recognize our military members, create jobs and establish franchised businesses in communities sends a huge message for the will and determination of this country. Operation Enduring Opportunity will encourage economic prosperity and the free enterprise system, adding many men and women to the next generation of business owners who will move this nation forward.”
NOTE TO MEDIA: Neighborly will have a VetFran vehicle driving in Waco’s Veterans Day parade on Nov. 11th. More information about VetFran at The Neighborly can be found at: http://www.leadingtheserviceindustry.com/VetFran.asp
Neighborly, based in Waco, Texas, is a holding company of seven franchise businesses, each selling and supporting a different franchise under the following service marks: Aire Serv®, Glass Doctor®, The Grounds Guys™, Mr. Appliance®, Mr. Electric®, Mr. Rooter® (Drain Doctor in the UK and Portugal), and Rainbow International®. Collectively, these independent franchise concepts offer customers world-wide a broad base of residential and commercial services. In addition, Dwyer operates glass shops in New England under the Portland Glass brand name. Neighborly is a portfolio company of TZP Group LLC, a private equity firm based in New York that focuses on control investments in business and consumer services companies with enterprise values generally up to $200 million. More information on The Neighborly, or its franchise concepts, is available at www.dwyergroup.com.