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Gift Certificates Open the Door to New Customers

Gift Certificates Open the Door to New Customers Our Town America

To help draw new customers through your doors, consider offering gift certificates, rather than coupons, to attract new residents. Every business owner understands the value of doling out coupons. The discounts encourage new customers to visit your establishment, introduce new product lines, and help shed excess inventory, according to Investopedia, an online investing resource. But, offering coupons has a downside. Coupons cost your business money, and customers might wait to make purchases until they have another coupon. Our Town America, the nation’s leading new mover marketing company, has an easy solution designed to ramp up profits and get new customers into your location. Rather than coupons, Our Town America appeals to new residents by offering an upscale Welcome Package that won’t get tossed in the recycle bin. The tasteful Welcome Package is oversized and designed to stand out from mundane mail. Plus, the offers included in the package are chosen because they line up with the needs of a recipient – therefore increasing the response rate. Every Welcome Package includes free one-time-use gifts, not repeat coupons. “A housewarming gift that includes proven special offers for local businesses will help welcome new residents to the neighborhood,” said Michael Plummer Jr., President and Chief Executive of Our Town America. “We encourage our partnered businesses to follow up on their welcome gifts with a thank-you postcard to keep their business top-of-mind with busy new residents.” People who purchase a new home typically open their wallets as they work to make their new residence a home, according to the National Association of Home Builders. For the first two years after closing on a new house, homeowners spend an average of $7,400 more than existing community members, $4,900 of it being spent in the first year after purchase, NAHB reported. While a big portion of expenditures are on appliances, furniture, and home repairs, new residents also spend the first few months in their new home running errands and learning where to buy groceries, take their pets, get dental work, order pizza, and more. New movers have no established habits or loyalties, making them an impressionable audience for businesses looking for new customers. Including New Mover Marketing in your advertising strategy makes it possible to reach a brand new, broad audience every single month. “Every time we add a new store, it’s a great decision,” said Tiffany Downing of Broadway Pizza in Maple Grove, Minnesota. “It depends on the market, but we get about 10-60 redemptions per month. We are seeing that people are spending more than we give in the certificate.” In case you’re still unsure whether implementing New Mover Marketing is the right choice for your business, here are some of the benefits of gift certificates. Advantages of Gift Certificates Keep your business top-of-mind New residents are busy unpacking boxes, painting, arranging furniture, and planting gardens. They are looking for easy, cost-effective options when out in their new community. Our Town America’s upscale Welcome Package is personalized and positioned as a welcoming gift to new residents, so is perceived by the customer as hospitality, not advertising. Help your business add loyal customers Gift certificates provide an extra incentive to try a new business risk-free, putting the local business at the top of the list. If you offer a free medium pizza on your gift certificate, hungry new residents will want to place an order as they unpack boxes and organize their new home. As an added bonus, if you impress them with stellar customer service and delicious food, they are likely to become loyal customers. Increase sales When customers come to redeem their gift certificate, it’s not uncommon that they will buy additional items, so it’s a great opportunity to enlighten them on your other offerings. If you’re ready to begin gaining more loyal customers, visit Our Town America today. Brittany N. JohnsonBrittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations. […]

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Tapping into the New Mover Market

New Mover Market New Mover Mailing List

Help your business recoup losses incurred this spring by marketing to new movers with Our Town America, the nation’s leading new mover marketing company. Local businesses took a hit following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. As you strive to comply with social distancing guidelines and provide a safe atmosphere for employees and customers, new mover marketing offers a profitable way to increase sales while adjusting to the new normal. Approximately 9.8 percent of the U.S. population moved in 2019, or 31 million Americans, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In fact, the average American moves 11.7 times during their lifetime. People opt to move to a different home – sometimes bigger, other times downsizing; to start a new job – whether a career advancement or a layoff; to improve their daily commute or be closer to family, according to MoveBuddha, an online moving service. “Our Town America’s mission is to help new movers adjust and feel welcomed into their community and fuel the economy for local business,” said Michael Plummer Jr., Our Town America’s CEO. “We help our sponsor businesses gain new, loyal and long-term customers every month by targeting new movers.” New movers are big spenders. Having the ability to tap into the new mover market is a cost-effective marketing strategy to snag new customers right when they come to town. During the first year of owning a home, homeowners spend nearly $11,000 on furniture, appliances and home repairs, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders. With so many expenses related to buying a home, it seems natural that new movers would take this opportunity to economize, but research suggests the opposite. A home purchase does not suppress spending on entertainment, apparel, transportation and restaurant meals, NAHB reported. Americans are following through on plans to move, despite the pandemic, and businesses can attract new residents by helping them feel welcome in their new community. Americans missed eating at restaurants and running errands without worrying about their health during quarantine, according to a new survey commissioned by Our Town America. Over 70 percent of Americans are eager to try out businesses in their new cities, the survey revealed. Our Town America’s new mover marketing program allows businesses the opportunity to make a great first impression on new residents – essentially bringing new customers through the door – or into their curbside parking spaces! Each month the company sends a Welcome Package to new residents, which includes your proven offer. The high-quality Welcome Package introduces new movers to different businesses in the area to help them feel at home in their new community. Businesses have the option to take advantage of Our Town America’s follow-up ‘thank you’ postcard which mails to guests who redeem their housewarming offer. This gives businesses the chance to invite customers back with a second offer, or even just stand out from their competition by thanking the new mover for their business. “We’re just off the beaten path, just a little ways from the main intersection. It gives people a chance to come down this way and see what’s down in this area,” said Fort Mill, South Carolina salon owner. While businesses can choose what they want to offer the new movers, 49 years of data has proven that a free haircut, with wash, cut and blow dry results in the best response rate. If you’re still unsure if delving into the new mover market is right for your business, check out some of the benefits of new mover marketing with Our Town America. Brand Awareness Generates Customer Loyalty. New residents are stressed and tired of unpacking boxes and worrying if they will fit into their new communities. Social distancing guidelines are making it difficult for new families to meet the neighbors, and teleworking and remote schooling aren’t making it any easier. Sending a Welcome Package with housewarming offers is one way to make their transition smoother. The Welcome Package helps build brand awareness and marks the beginning step to customer loyalty, but getting repeat business is up to you. Make sure to make new residents who visit your business feel welcome by offering superior customer service and a positive atmosphere. Target Your Customer. Our Town America has been acquiring accurate new mover mailing lists for their customers since being founded in 1972. The company mines new resident names from multiple sources to ensure a clean, comprehensive list. They use proprietary technology to pull names from county courthouse warranty deeds, credit reporting agencies, magazine subscription address changes, credit cards, voter registrations, driver’s licenses, utility companies and more. With their impressive new mover mailing list and ‘sponsor exclusivity’ concept, Our Town America is able to target the new residents moving into your chosen ZIP codes so that you reach them before your competitors do. Unique Tracking Tools. The success of any marketing program is only as good as its ability to track your return on investment. Our Town America offers the Our Town TruTrak® mobile app, which is available on both the Apple Store and Google Play Store. The app allows you to validate and scan redemptions at point of sale or at your convenience. It also tracks your return on investment, triggers a ‘thank you’ mailing and even gathers detailed demographic data of your new customers. Learn more about how Our Town America can help you add customers and boost foot traffic to your business today. Brittany N. JohnsonBrittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations. […]

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New Mover Marketing Program is Key to Drive Summer Traffic

Market to new movers this summer and gain new cusotmers

If you want to tap into the new mover market this summer, it’s important to rely on an established new mover marketing program to get results. The summer months are a busy time for movers. Nearly 60 percent of moves in the United States take place between May and August, according to MoveBuddha, an online resource for movers. Families take advantage of the school break to relocate and get settled in their new homes. Summer is traditionally a slower time at the office for many American workers, making it easy to devote time to a move, reported Allied Van Lines, one of the nation’s largest moving companies. The warm weather months also make relocating easier for many families concerned about travel delays owing to winter storms. “Summer is one of the busiest times of year for moving and it’s essential for local businesses to be prepared to tap into the new mover market this year,” said Michael Plummer, president and chief executive of Our Town America, the nation’s leading new mover marketing franchise. “As your business scrambles to comply with new social distancing guidelines to protect customers and employees, opt to add a new mover marketing program with a long history of delivering results to help get your business back on track.” As stay-at-home orders are lifted and states begin to reopen, people are moving forward with their plans to relocate this summer. The rising number of people who left their offices to work remotely this spring is also prompting many Americans to consider moving from large cities to smaller communities. A survey conducted by Harris Poll of 2,050 Americans reveals 39 percent of urban dwellers are considering moving to a less crowded area during this unprecedented time. A recent survey conducted by Our Town America reveals new residents are ready to enjoy local businesses in their new towns this summer. More than 70 percent of new movers reported that they would be willing to try out new businesses in their new community.  As COVID-19 restrictions loosen, 49 percent of people will take advantage of takeout and curbside pickup options from local restaurants and 35 percent of new residents will enjoy a meal in a restaurant dining room. Social distancing gave people who need to move more time to get organized before packing up. After donating old clothes, furniture, and unused toys, they will need to tap into small businesses in their new communities to help make their house a home. Tapping into the new mover market this summer can help your business recoup losses and rebuild a loyal customer base. An essential component of any new mover mailing list is a complete new mover marketing program. Companies who provide a new mover mailing list are a dime a dozen and, while the list itself provides an opportunity to target new residents, it puts the burden of developing a plan on you. A turnkey new mover program can help you succeed on a shoestring marketing budget. Our Town America has the tools your business needs to create a successful new mover marketing campaign. “New movers are nobody’s customers, so a strategic new mover marketing program can introduce people to your business before they’ve established loyalties to your competitors,” Plummer added. Target Your Demographic. A turnkey new mover marketing program can finetune your message and target your specific customer demographic for you. No matter who your business caters to, Our Town America has the data experience and technology to help your business succeed. Welcoming Customers with Attractive Offers. Our Town America greets new movers with a Welcome Package filled with proven offers and category exclusivity for partnered businesses. The package welcomes people to their new home and introduces them to local businesses. “One of the best avenues to get the word out about my business is Our Town. I’m the only pizza guy in there, and it’s a free product. If I give a free pizza, that costs me $2.75. If that customer ordered $20 every week, they’re spending $1,000 per year at my restaurant” said Ben Finley, multi-unit Marco’s Pizza franchise owner in Florida. Technology Helps Get the Job Done. Innovative technology allows you to track results on your smartphone. Our Town America developed a digital system, known as TruTrak®, that records redemptions and automatically triggers a secondary, follow-up mailer – leaving a lasting impression. Additionally, SponsorWeb allows partnered businesses to check their activity, view realtime new mover feedback and customer demographics.    Supportive Team Ensures Success. Having a support system is essential during this unprecedented time. Local businesses are busy complying with new operating guidelines, so partnering with the #1 Advertising Franchise in the country (https://franchisebusinessreview.com/franchise-reviews/our-town-america/) that has 49 years of experience can provide peace of mind. Our Town America can finetune your marketing/ advertising campaign while you concentrate on running your business. To start gaining new, loyal customers, visit Our Town America today. Brittany N. JohnsonBrittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations. […]

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Survey Says: Will People Move Homes During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Survey People Moving Coronavirus

May’s National Moving Month kicks off the start of the summer moving season. The weather is starting to warm up and it’s a great time to make the transition to a new location. While the unfortunate Coronavirus pandemic has no doubt made an impact on the economy, a new national survey commissioned by Our Town America shows many people are actually looking to move – some as a result of the current crisis. The survey of 1,000 people across America answers the question of whether or not people will relocate homes due to Coronavirus and offers responses that might shock you! Getting Personal The survey first gathered personal information to gain a better understanding of the context for responses. Our diverse pool of respondents is a good representation of the general population’s thoughts during the moving season. When asked, what is your age? 9.6% said Generation Z (18-23 years old) 32.7% said Millennials (24-39 years old) 27.5% said Generation X (40-55 years old) 26.7% said Boomers (56-74 years old) 3.6% said Silent Generation (75+ years old) When asked, do you identify as male or female? 49.2% said Male 50.3% said Female 0.5% said Neither When asked, Which State do you live in? 10.0% said California 10.0% said Connecticut 10.0% said Florida 10.0% said Illinois 10.0% said Louisiana 10.0% said Massachusetts 10.0% said Michigan 10.1% said New Jersey 10.0% said New York 10.0% said Pennsylvania When asked, what is your current marital status? 31.5% said Single, never married 48.4% said Married 7.9% said Divorced 0.7% said Separated 3.5% said Widowed 7.8% said Living with partner or significant other 0.3% said Prefer not to answer When asked, how many children do you have? 45.5% said 0 17.6% said 1 23.4% said 2 8.0% said 3 3.4% said 4 1.3% said 5 0.5% said 6 0.3% said 7 0.1% said 8 or more When asked, in what type of area do you currently live? 32.4% said City 52.8% said Suburbs 14.8% said Rural When asked, how long have you lived in your current state? 1.7% said A few months 2.0% said One year 7.3% said Two to five years 6.1% said Six to ten years 6.6% said Eleven to fifteen years 5.4% said Sixteen to twenty years 19.8% said More than twenty years 51.1% said My whole life How people view the effects of Coronavirus Next, we had to identify concerns of Coronavirus in the survey takers’ current state. If someone lives in a hotspot for Coronavirus, would they consider moving? Would they consider moving because of something related to the Coronavirus? Understanding the feelings of this crisis, we were able to paint a clearer picture of our respondents’ situations. When asked, how concerned are you about Coronavirus in your area? 51.0% said Very concerned 31.7% said Somewhat concerned 12.4% said Moderately concerned 4.9% said Not at all concerned When asked, how do you feel about where you live right now? (Choose best answer) 4.5% said I hate it 7.3% said I don’t like it 26.2% said It’s OK, but I feel as if I need a change 31.1% said I like it 11.2% said I love it, but I feel like I need to move 19.8% said I love it and I’m never moving When asked, you live in one of the hotspot States for Coronavirus. Would you consider moving? 41.7% said Yes 58.3% said No When asked, would you consider moving because of anything related to the coronavirus? 26.0% said Yes 74.0% said No When asked, how strongly would you consider a move? (Choose best answer) 36.5% said Very strongly 50.8% said Somewhat strongly 12.7% said Would mildly consider When asked, what is it related to Coronavirus that makes you consider moving? (Select all that apply) 41.5% said the coronavirus may take (and/or has already taken) a toll on my health or the health of my family member(s) 43.5% said the coronavirus may take (and/or has already taken) a toll on my finances 37.3% said the coronavirus may take (and/or has already taken) a toll on my mental well-being 25.8% said Because of the coronavirus, I lost work/my job and/or my business is suffering 33.1% said I’m tired of stay-at-home orders 35.4% said I want my freedom and want lesser restrictions 23.8% said the coronavirus may take (and/or has already taken) a toll on my relationships Driving forces to move because of the pandemic The next section shows when, where and why people would move due to Coronavirus. So many options for people to consider! When asked, when would you move? (Choose best answer) 19.6% said as fast as I can. I want out! 8.1% said This spring 16.5% said This summer 12.7% said This fall 6.5% said This winter 17.7% said Sometime next year 18.8% said Sometime in the next few years When asked, how strongly would you consider a move if there’s a second wave of Coronavirus where you live? (Choose best answer) 16.2% said Very strongly 18.2% said Somewhat strongly 27.0% said Would mildly consider 38.7% said Would not consider at all When asked, would you want to move to an area that was less effected by the Coronavirus? (Had fewer Coronavirus cases and deaths compared to where you live now) 53.3% said Yes 46.7% said No When asked, why do you want to move to an area less effected by the Coronavirus? (Select all that apply) 29.0% said Fewer people 39.5% said Less chance of me and my family catching coronavirus 26.6% said Less chance of another resurgence of coronavirus that shuts down the whole area 9.7% said My area will have bad memories of coronavirus and I need to get away 27.0% said Need a new place for a fresh start 16.7% said I want to live in an area that has/had looser restrictions or no restrictions at all. 44.2% said I want peace of mind for me and my family 31.8% said I want somewhere less expensive to live 27.7% said I want to […]

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New Mover Welcome Package Offers Benefits for Local Businesses and New Residents

New Mover Welcome Package

Our Town America’s New Mover Welcome Package is a great opportunity for businesses to help reduce stress facing new residents who are busy unpacking boxes, starting new jobs, and navigating their way around an unfamiliar neighborhood. Moving ranks up with divorce and death as one of the most stressful life events for Americans, according to The American Institute of Stress, a non-profit established in 1978 to serve as a clearinghouse for information on stress. Stress is the body’s natural way of responding to danger or threat. While everyone experiences stress, long-term stress can be detrimental to the body’s health. High-stress levels can contribute to serious health problems, like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, including mental disorders such as depression or anxiety, according to Cleveland Clinic. The most stressful life events are death of a loved one, divorce, moving, major illness, and job loss. “Our Town America understands moving is a stressful experience,” said Michael Plummer Jr., president of Our Town America. “Our Welcome Packages help customers navigate their new neighborhoods and provides them with heartfelt free offers from local businesses.” Whether you’re a small business owner or part of a large corporation, it’s important to meet your marketing objectives while staying within your advertising budget. Our Town America’s New Mover Marketing program puts businesses in front of new residents to help alleviate some of the stress of the moving process. For more than 48 years, Our Town America has greeted new residents with a Welcome Package filled with hand-selected, proven offers inviting them to try products and services from local businesses. The Welcome Package has brought millions of new, loyal customers to thousands of local businesses across the nation. It helps local businesses gain new customers before they have a chance to establish loyalties with competitors.   Welcome Package Weeds Out Competition Our Town America makes it a priority to partner with only one of each type of business in any specific ZIP code to help lock out the competition and give their partnered businesses an advantage – after all, these are the businesses that also see the importance of making newcomers feel welcome. Businesses can opt to send a custom-designed, full-color postcard out to customers who redeem their gift certificate as a customer service bonus. That secondary mailing can be a simple ‘thank you’ or can present the new customer with another offer.   Tracking Tools Show Stellar Results Our Town America built TruTrak® to help businesses see the results of their welcome efforts. The TruTrak® mobile app allows businesses to track their return on investment and gather detailed demographic data. The app also enables businesses to validate and scan redemptions at point of sale, or when convenient for the business owner/ designated scanning employee. The app also ensures businesses follow through on customer service tools by giving them the opportunity to trigger a ‘thank-you’ mailing to customers who redeem their gift certificate. TruTrak® helps businesses see real-time results by comparing the certificates scanned with the total number of mailings sent to help determine if an offer is successful.   Target Big Spenders Each month, Our Town America prints over one million personalized gift certificates and welcomes more than 500,000 new residents to local businesses in their community. Up to 20 percent of the U.S. population moves each year, providing businesses with a rotating slate of new customers. In addition, new movers spend more money because they have no established habits or loyalties. Moving requires heavy lifting, and customers are willing to open their wallets to help reduce stress and make their house a home. Buyers of new, single-family homes tend to spend on average $7,400 more during the first two years in the home than a similar homeowner who does not move, including $4,900 in the first year after purchase, according to the National Association of Home Builders.   Current Events Add New Layer of Anxiety to Moving Recent social distancing guidelines are adding to the stress of moving. The American Moving and Storage Association recommends movers regularly check resources like the Centers for Disease Control, to stay up-to-date on the latest news and guidelines. AMSA advises movers to get virtual estimates, purchase new moving boxes and tape, and deep clean their new home before unpacking. Adjusting to a new residence during this time can be challenging. The New Mover Welcome Package gives new residents an opportunity to support local businesses in their community. New Mover Marketing programs offer stress relief while customers are busy arranging furniture, hanging pictures, and stripping wallpaper. Learn more about how Our Town America can help you add customers and grow your business today. Brittany N. JohnsonBrittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations. […]

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Get the Word Out about Your Pizzeria

Get the word out about your pizzeria

PMQ Pizza Magazine — The past few months have thrown a curveball at restaurant owners. While your restaurant may still be open for business—feeding locals, healthcare workers and others on the frontlines—the way you’re running your restaurant right now is probably not “business as usual.” Dine-in has taken a back seat to delivery and curbside takeout. Your cleanliness rating and cleaning procedures have become a topic of conversation. Maybe you changed your hours or revamped your products/services; some pizzerias are now offering take-home “build your own pizza” kits. You’re doing all you can to stay afloat through this unique time. But how will consumers know about your new offerings if you’re busy working in the kitchen with your scaled-down crew? Although posting this information online is encouraged, consumers will appreciate it if you proactively reach out to guide them. After all, consumer habits have changed due to fewer options and less commuting; many consumers are stressed and unsure of where to get a good meal. If your pizzeria can reach out during this time of uncertainty, not only will you gain new customers, you’ll help put food on families’ tables amidst a time of crisis, which will make a lasting impression. That’s what Our Town America is here for. Our Town America specializes in connecting local businesses with new customers. And through all the recent economic changes, a few things have remained the same: People appreciate a heartfelt message from a neighborhood business, and people are checking their mailboxes. Here are three of Our Town America’s many direct-mail avenues to consider: New Mover Marketing—Reach a new set of new movers in your community each month. Meaningful offers are always, but especially now, welcomed with open arms and grateful hearts. Saturation Postcards—Reach consumers based on neighborhoods, distance from your restaurant(s) or median household age or income. Hit every mailbox—no recipient list needed. Targeted Demographic Postcards—Reach a specific demographic or a group of prospects based on your criteria. With 48 years of marketing expertise, Our Town America will advise you on which option is best for your business. Our Town America knows that local businesses are the backbone of our communities. So, let them help you get the word out about your pizzeria. After all, that’s what they do best.       Source: Brittany N. JohnsonBrittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations. […]

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Franchise Consultants turned Our Town America Franchise Owners

Time to Franchise John Groppoli Peter Carlson Our Town America Franchise Consultants

John Groppoli and Peter Carlson aren’t typical Our Town America franchise owners, but talk to enough Our Town America franchise owners, and you start to get the idea that nobody is typical. Everybody has their own unique tale. That’s because Our Town America is a franchise that appeals to entrepreneurs from all different backgrounds. Still, Groppoli and Carlson’s story is different than most. As Groppoli explains it, “Peter Carlson and I are business partners, and we came out of the franchise consulting world. That was the world we lived in. We helped individuals find the right franchise to invest in, as well as guide franchisors with their sales process. That was our background, and that was how we came across Our Town America.” Groppoli and Carlson wound up helping a couple of their clients invest in Our Town America. Thus, they noticed that there wasn’t much of a presence in their state of Minnesota. This sparked an idea, and they started discussing the possibility of becoming regional developers. In October 2009, the two purchased the RD license for Minnesota with the vision of developing Our Town America regionally. Today, Groppoli and Carlson have awarded four territories in Minnesota to franchise owners — and kept one in St. Paul for themselves. We caught up with Groppoli — Carlson was out of the office, no doubt working hard for Our Town America — and we got his take on, well, just about everything. As you can imagine, Groppoli has a wealth of advice for anybody thinking of buying an Our Town America, or any franchise. What drew Groppoli and Carlson to Our Town America? “There were several attractions,” says Groppoli. “For one, ‘this is a lifestyle business’. You make your own hours. If there is a sporting event for one of your kids that you want to attend, you schedule around that and make it happen. Given the fact that this is a home-based business and you don’t have to worry about a brick and mortar location, it allows for a lot of flexibility”. Groppoli also said that they liked that this is a business, “in which you have the ability to develop a recurring revenue stream”. He explains that when you land new clients, business owners sign 12-month agreements, in which they’ll be targeting new movers. “So you aren’t chasing clients every single month and trying to re-up them, so to speak,” Groppoli says. “We have clients that have been mailing with us for eight years.” He also likes that there’s very little overhead. “You can ramp up quickly. Franchisees can make money after the first client they sign up, which is very unique. With many other direct mail businesses, you’ll need a base of clients to cover your overhead costs before you start making money.” Groppoli also says that he and Carlson simply liked the fact that it’s a community-oriented business. He imagines that it wouldn’t be fun working in direct mail if you were selling products and services to people who had no interest in them. “But with Our Town America, you’re helping new families and individuals get acclimated into their new neighborhood. People establish purchasing habits after living in their community for a while, new movers are actively looking for businesses that offer products and services in their new neighborhood, replacing the others that they left behind. When you’re new to an area, you want to know where to take your vehicle to be fixed, quality restaurants in the area or which dentist to go to. That was a big initial draw for us.” What makes a successful Our Town America franchise owner? “The people who are going to thrive with the Our Town America franchise are those who consider themselves social and extroverted. You need to be able to build business relationships. Experience in sales is also a no-brainer, “ Groppoli says. “The program has a 47-year track record of successfully introducing new movers to their local community businesses,” Groppoli adds. “So as long as you can explain to a business owner how the New Mover Program will help increase their bottom line, you should be successful”. Advice for people thinking of buying a franchise in general? “The most important thing to do, when you look at any franchise, is to take the time to call existing franchisees and make those validation calls,” Groppoli says. In other words, call people who own a franchise with the brand you’re looking at and ask them if they’re happy with their investment. “Most franchise owners will tell you the good, the bad and the in-between,” Groppoli says. “They’ll tell you their challenges, successes and struggles. I’d definitely encourage people to reach out to some Our Town America owners. They’re very approachable, and they’ll take the time to answer your questions. Remember, they were once in your shoes, looking at various investment opportunities”. Groppoli believes that anyone who takes his advice and connects with existing franchisees will likely walk away with the feeling that Our Town America is a ‘family-type franchise system’. He continues, “People are very close – always talking and supporting one another. Additionally, that same mindset and culture exist in the Our Town America corporate office as well”. “There’s very little turnover. Many employees have been with the company for over 10 years,” Groppoli says. “That tells you a lot about the culture and the type of company you’re working with”. Brittany N. JohnsonBrittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations. […]

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Like Everything in Texas, This Franchisee is Doing Everything Bigger

Texas Marketing with Our Town America

Many franchisees understandably own just one store or territory. They settle in a city, and they work to scale the franchise bigger each year. It’s a system that works well. But Dan Schrobilgen is the owner or co-owner of multiple Our Town America territories. He spends most of his time in his Austin territory, where he lives and first started with Our Town America in 2006. But in 2015, he purchased the Dallas/Forth Worth territory, partnered with Clint Finch, who also owns a territory in Houston, and launched that venture. In that acquisition, Schrobilgen also purchased a territory in Tulsa, Oklahoma. How does he do it? Why does he do it? How has he come to champion Our Town America? We wondered. Before Our Town America. Schrobilgen says that he has been in marketing and advertising his entire career. He moved from Iowa to Texas in 1990 and spent 13 years rising in the ranks of a large media company before taking what he learned and striking out on his own. The new business was successful enough that he was able to sell it a few years later. He sold the company because he knew the timing was right and there were multiple interested buyers, but he also had a desire to end his travel and own a smaller company that would give him less headaches and more control. Schrobilgen couldn’t help but think there was a real downside in having a business in Phoenix when he and his family lived in Austin. It’s one heck of a commute. A 1,000-mile commute, in fact, and Schrobilgen was racking up an obscene amount of frequent flier miles. “My three kids were all under 10, and I was gone almost every week,” Schrobilgen says. That was painful for him. Finch, a friend who had also worked for the media company, had told him about an opportunity to own an Our Town America franchise in Austin. This Our Town America gig, one in which he would court businesses interested in marketing and attracting people who were new to the area — sounded like a business he would enjoy. Schrobilgen made the decision to begin the next phase of his career with Our Town America in Austin, and his sales and revenue quickly grew. As he realized that he was living his professional dream, he doubled down on it and purchased the additional territories from another franchise owner. Buying an Our Town America franchise… and then another… and another… To make a long story short, Schrobilgen and Finch ended up hiring someone to manage Dallas/Fort Worth. Between that business and his Austin venture, he keeps busy and he loves it. He says he found himself appreciating the Our Town America franchise model because, amongst many reasons, he felt like he had far more control over his present and future than he did working for a big media conglomerate. “There were many things out of my control when I worked for someone else,” Schrobilgen says. “Upper management was always making decisions that affected me.” Life as an Our Town America entrepreneur. Not to make it sound like this is an infomercial, where if you purchase an Our Town America franchise, your life will be suddenly transformed, and the gloomy, gray sky will be filled with rainbows and unicorns, but that’s pretty much what happened to Schrobilgen… okay, minus the rainbows and unicorns. “I just have these points of comparison from my previous two careers. I suddenly had no worries about how the stock price would affect my budget, no employee issues, and no office politics. I wasn’t traveling, and I got to sleep in my bed every night,” Schrobilgen says. Even better, he got to spend quality time with his wife and children. “I was able to help make their breakfast and school lunches every day when they were young. I made it to every dance recital, every Little League game, and was even able to coach my kids. Every karate class, every graduation and school event, every you-name-it, I’ve been to,” Schrobilgen says. His kids are well on their way to growing up – Grace, 22, is about to graduate college; Nate, 19, is a sophomore in college, and Ava, 17, is a high school junior — but what has been nice is that Schrobilgen has been around to experience it. If he had stayed with the large corporation or the business in Phoenix, he would have missed out on many of the kids’ important events and experiences, he asserts. “The quality of life with Our Town America, to be able to spend time with your family and friends in your community and still have a job that’s challenging, but one that you control, that’s a rare thing,” Schrobilgen says. He works with his wife, Jodi, who works part-time managing the administrative duties for his franchise, such as the finances and taxes. “All that fun stuff,” Schrobilgen quips. The rest of the workweek, he adds, she spends volunteering. For about six years, Jodi helped manage a food pantry and for the last few years she has been co-managing a free medical clinic, which specializes in providing medical care to the underserved, including many refugees and immigrants. Schrobilgen manages to volunteer as well. Every Monday since 2007, for a chunk of the time in the middle of the day, he participates in Meals on Wheels, delivering meals to senior citizens. They also both work together and with many other family members on a charity started by one of his siblings, an event that raises money for multiple charities in their home state of Iowa, as well as an orphanage in South Africa. The whole family, including all three kids, gets in on the projects and assists with the work needed to be done. That, too, wouldn’t be happening with a conventional job or even running a different business, Schrobilgen says. He likes that due to the flexibility that comes with the job, the Our […]

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Top-selling Franchisee Earns Italy Trip and Great Quality of Life

Our Town America Illinois Top Franchisee in Italy

If Hollywood ever needs an idea for a reality TV show, they should send their camera-crew to follow Mark Berggren around. Granted, there would have to be some editing since much of Berggren’s life as an Our Town America franchisee probably wouldn’t make riveting television. He generally starts his days, dropping his kids off at school, and then he works at home from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., often at a computer. And, yet, some of what would be filmed probably would make great TV. Berggren says that, over the years, “I’ve met everybody from dentists to pizza drivers to pet shop owners.” And when you do that, you start to pick up things. Berggren can probably now make a pizza about as well as any pizzeria. He has learned a lot about how car washes are run, discussing how much water typical facilities use in a day and what type of environmental regulations govern these businesses. He has a good understanding of how to treat back pain from all the chiropractors he’s talked with. And, once, when trying to get a pet storeowner to sign on as a client, he wound up holding a python. It wasn’t something Berggren planned on. “I said that I was afraid of snakes,” Berggren recalls, “and the guy said, ‘Well, there’s no better time to learn not to be than now.’” Before Our Town America. Berggren used to be a litigation consultant throughout his twenties. As his LinkedIn page puts it, his job was to “offer a wide range of electronic solutions and paper products to the legal and corporate community. Technical sales dealing in imaging/coding, data conversion, forensic evidence, and web-based repositories.” It was more interesting than it sounds, we think, but at the same time, Berggren often faced many challenges. For one, as attorneys started going digital, some of what Berggren was offering simply wasn’t needed. It was also a stressful job, working with anxious attorneys going to trial, so when Berggren’s older sister, Kathy, a headhunter at the time, mentioned Our Town America in the summer of 2006, the then-33-year-old found himself instantly intrigued. Berggren had recently moved from Chicago to the suburbs, so related to the premise of Our Town America. By September 2006, he found himself flying to the Our Town America headquarters in Florida to discuss becoming a franchisee. Before the year was up, Berggren had gone through a month and a half of training and was open for business. Open for business. Chicago is a tough city from a marketing standpoint, Berggren says. He isn’t sure why that is. Still, over the last 13 years, Berggren has made things work. “I think it’s personal consistency,” he says. In other words, he has worked hard, been committed and remained positive. He has been careful to find clients who he knows are a good fit for the Our Town America New Mover Program. After all, if you have to convince a client to sign up that isn’t a great match, they aren’t likely to remain a client anyway. Berggren is always eager to find restaurants, dental offices or car washes that want to be a part of the New Mover Program. But, one time – and this is one of the reasons we think Berggren needs his own reality show – he had a meeting with a startup entrepreneur who wanted to sell paraphernalia related to the cannabis industry, at a time when legal marijuana wasn’t exactly a thing. Berggren says: “I kept thinking, ‘This is a joke, right?’” Not surprisingly, the startup entrepreneur did not end up becoming a client. But while there were those types of dead ends, Berggren kept at it, and he saw his sales steadily climb over the years. In fact, they climbed so much that, earlier this year, as is the practice for top-selling Our Town America franchise owners, he won a free trip to Italy with his wife – paid for by Our Town America. Berggren says that being an Our Town America franchise owner has been a great experience. His wife, Kelle, is a dermatologist whose work schedule is generally booked out a year in advance. Berggren usually has his calendar mapped out a week in advance, so he has been able to carve out a career where, if needed, he can shuttle their kids – who are now 14, 12 and 10 years old. “It’s a career that has given me a structure that I like, while simultaneously providing flexibility,” Berggren says. He says he also loves that the Our Town America franchise model provides him the opportunity to meet with hundreds of small business owners likes himself. “It’s kind of an insider’s look into each of these industries to see what type of daily schedule they run,” Berggren says. For instance, restaurant owners have to be very hands-on – often working evenings and weekends. Berggren says that, over the years, he has gained a newfound appreciation for practically every industry he partners with. “It’s been really fascinating meeting with these business owners,” Berggren says. “Every day can be different from the one before.” He is very pleased with the path he has chosen for himself – no camera crew tailing he and his family needed. Brittany N. JohnsonBrittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations. […]

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Our Town America San Francisco Small Business Owner on Her Success

San Francisco Bay Woman Finds Success with Our Town America

Long before investing in Our Town America, the nation’s leading New Mover Marketing franchise, Suzi Dupries was a small business owner wondering how to get more customers to walk through the doors of her beauty salon and retail store. “Back then, I truly felt that New Mover Marketing was the missing piece in my advertising pie,” Dupries says. “I actually was searching for something like this during the last couple years I was in retail.” In January of 2014, Dupries bought an Our Town America franchise territory in the San Francisco Bay Area, she helps local business owners connect with people who have just moved into town.   How Dupries found Our Town America. Similar to other retail storeowners experiencing the decline in sales due to their products sold cheaper online. Dupries started thinking it may be time for a new business plan. Dupries took her knowledge and began looking for a new career path for herself — and started working with a franchise broker to purchase a franchise that would provide growth potential and ongoing support.   Why Dupries chose Our Town America When Dupries first learned about Our Town America, she was immediately drawn to the business model. “I was very fortunate that Our Town America was a perfect fit for me,” she says. “I related to the community involvement which was important to me. I’m a strong advocate of shopping locally and supporting the local community.” Dupries isn’t just talking the talk. She says that she doesn’t shop online, lest the purchase take away from the businesses in her area. That’s a true commitment to shopping locally! “If we don’t do business in our local towns, we won’t have a town community,” Dupries says. “I think people need to know their neighbors and their business neighbors.” But there were other reasons Dupries liked the Our Town America business model. “When you look at all the types of businesses out there, Our Town America is unique. For one, I didn’t have to do a build-out for this franchise. I didn’t have to sign a long-term business lease. Instead, I can work from home, be involved in my community, grow the business and have many sales representatives if I choose to, or just do it myself. With Our Town America, you have flexibility and organize your own time.”   How things have been going so far In short, very well. Granted, Our Town America isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t a people person and aren’t a fan of sales, it may not be a fit. But Dupries clearly had all the right skill sets that aligned perfectly with what it takes to own and operate an Our Town America franchise. “I’m having the time of my life,” she says. She says she particularly enjoys that she can mix it up and be out in the field, talking to business owners about how the New Mover Program will benefit their business — and then other days, she can work from her home calling on businesses. “There are so few businesses where you can do that,” she says. “They’re out there, but often requires managing locations with multiple employees.” It probably helps that Dupries, who once managed employees and was always hustling to bring in new clientele, speaks the same business language her clients do. She can use her own experience as a small-business owner to explain the benefits of working with Our Town America to potential clients. Dupries says that sometime in the future she may hire some sales representatives and take her franchise to the next level — but for now, she is enjoying working solo. – If you’re a San Francisco area business looking to team up with Our Town America San Francisco, please contact Suzi at 415-755-4574. Non-San Francisco area businesses can reach out to the Our Town America corporate headquarters to get in touch with their local representative at 800-497-8360. Brittany N. JohnsonBrittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations. […]

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