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Data-driven Marketing Company, Our Town America, Celebrates 49th Year in Business

Data-driven Marketing Company, Our Town America, Celebrates 49th Year in Business

Franchising.com — Our Town America is celebrating its 49th year of helping local businesses create and maintain relationships with customers who are new to the area. Since 1972, Our Town America has been welcoming new movers with one-time gifts, inviting them to sample neighborhood businesses upon move in. This unique model has helped local establishments across the nation grow loyal customer bases while allowing Our Town America to thrive for nearly five decades. “My Dad started the company while running his retail business,” said Michael Plummer Jr., Our Town America’s President/CEO. “He had a simple idea, and it worked really well. We are still using that simple, yet powerful idea today – with some added bells & whistles to tie-in technology, which has only made our program that much stronger. Even with all of the marketing options available in 2021, welcoming new residents with a kind gesture continues to be extremely effective.” Over the years, Our Town America evolved into a data-driven company using the latest technology available to help small business owners target specific geographic areas, interests, or even income levels. This creates a high return on investment for local shops, restaurants and other businesses looking to maximize their budgets. And for those small businesses who just don’t have a large marketing budget, Our Town America built the Budget Billing program to allow them to spend within their means by capping their monthly invoice. The company has also integrated multiple smartphone apps, such as TruTrak®, which gives partnered businesses access to data showing just how effective the marketing campaign is in real-time and even provides the ability to trigger a second mailing to really seal the deal. Their other mobile apps cater to the consumer and the Our Town America franchise owner.  Really, the franchise has thought of each person the brand works with on a daily basis and has made life simpler through technology. That being said, it’s not surprising that Our Town America is a recession-resistant company that’s weathered two major economic downturns in the last 15 years. The company’s recent success earned it recognition from Franchise Business Review as a Top Recession-Proof Franchise, and as the #1 Advertising & Sales Franchise in the U.S. Our Town America is also consistently honored as a Top Low-Cost Franchise, Top Franchise for Women, and a Top Culture Franchise. “I’m proud of this company we’ve not only built, but enhanced over the last 49 years,” said Plummer. “This is a strong and resilient model, and our franchisees benefit from a proven system that generates results.” Our Town America is excited about the future and the chance to continue to innovate and take advantage of new technologies while staying true to the model that’s led to decades of success. Source: Franchising.com 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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The Triangle is Welcoming Thousands of New Residents Monthly

The Triangle is Welcoming Thousands of New Residents Monthly Our Town America New Mover Marketing

Spectrum News Raleigh — A little over a year ago, the Raleigh area known as The Triangle, began experiencing the effects of what would soon be known as the global Covid-19 pandemic. Fast forward to today, Triangle-area locals have noticed something else quite shocking: a large number of new residents coming to town! Not only are new residents moving to the area for the health, education and technology opportunities it has to offer, but there are also big developments in the works that will bring more life to the already vast metropolis. While the area is already home to one Amazon distribution center, two more are on the way in addition to Apple opening their only East Coast campus there soon. This is expected to add 20,000 jobs investing $430 billion in the local economy.  In fact, The Triangle area is amongst a list of cities being referred to as a “Zoom Town” — referring to the video conferencing platform, as many companies across the country are granting employees the flexibility to work remote. 56% of all workers have the ability to do their jobs from home Microsoft just released a survey showing flexible work is here to stay Cary is listed as one of the top cities in the country to work remotely According to a new survey from Neighbor.com, 72% of Americans say they are looking forward to meeting their new neighbors. The same survey found 46% would like to get more involved in local events. People are jumping at the opportunity to move from big cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles yet have the ability to keep their current jobs. Our Town America, the nation’s premier New Mover Marketing program, has been studying these national trends. As moving industry experts, we keep a close eye on the market year-round. These statistics should be taken into consideration – especially if you own a business and are considering reaching out to new residents to welcome them as new customers. Every month, Our Town America is seeing around 5,000 people moving into the Triangle area.  This influx of new residents is just a preview of what The Triangle will continue to see as Amazon and Apple continue to bring more new movers to the area. Bassam Safi, franchise owner of Our Town America of Wilmington/Cary/Raleigh/Durham, and one of his loyal New Mover Marketing program clients, Dr. Hesham Baky of Triangle Family Dentistry, met with Spectrum News Raleigh to discuss the trends they’ve experienced over the past year and what the area has to look forward to in the coming months! — Our Town America supports small businesses across the nation by welcoming new movers to town and bringing that new customer through your business doors. If you’re a local Raleigh-area business looking to reach new or current customers, contact Bassam Safi at ‭‭910-352-5776‬‬‬‬. If your business is located outside the Raleigh area, contact Our Town America corporate at 1-800-497-8360 to get connected with your local representative. 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 Helps Restaurants Reach Potential Guests

Eateries Reach New Customers with New Mover Marketing

Modern Restaurant Management — This year could be a strong one for restaurants as people relocate to new cities across the country in search of a change of scenery and a quieter life. Experts predict home sales will continue to skyrocket in 2021 as Zillow forecasts this year to be the best year for home sales since 2005, with 6.9 million homes expected to sell by year-end.  The spike in remote working last year untethered people from their corporate offices and prompted many people to relocate. Restaurants can take advantage of this moving trend by implementing marketing strategies that help build lasting relationships with customers. How Do I Form Relationships with New Residents? The moving surge provides an avenue for restaurants to increase their customer base. New Mover Marketing helps restaurants capitalize on the housing boom by building relationships with new residents in their community. Restaurants can welcome new residents by participating in a one-time-use housewarming gift filled with offers on behalf of local businesses in the community. Inviting new residents to eat at your restaurant with a proven offer encourages them to become regular customers before they have a chance to form loyalties to other establishments. This is an impressionable time for consumers, and thankfully for those businesses that capitalize on it — new movers spend more money than established residents as they are working to turn their new house into a home. New Mover Marketing allows you to make a great first impression and marks the beginning of a lasting relationship. With some New Mover Marketing companies, restaurants can even track their ROI when new movers redeem their offer. New Mover Marketing Captures Customers Online One of the best ways to form long-lasting relationships with customers is to reach them where they spend their time. At least 37 percent of customers have three or more mobile phones at home, according to a survey of 2,000 people conducted by SAS Institute, a multinational developer of analytics software. Potential customers surf the web and many spend time on social media each day. The Informed Delivery® service offered by the United States Postal Service offers an integrated marketing approach to meet current consumer demand by allowing people to see their mail on their smartphones before it is delivered to their mailbox. Combining New Mover Marketing and Informed Delivery gives restaurants multiple touchpoints for their message. It lets businesses generate online buzz and still reach new movers with the tactile experience of physical mail. It also provides ways to bolster your online presence, too. Businesses can add ride-along content at an additional cost to spark interest. The ride-along content is in color and includes a link, which can be used to drive traffic to your social media accounts. It also allows restaurants to entice customers with videos to tell people about specials, or about the welcome package that will be arriving in their mailbox from your new mover marketing campaign. As Covid-19 numbers continue to drop, the outlook for foodservice is trending up and customers are excited to return to dining rooms, especially as they get to know the restaurants in their new cities. The International Franchise Association predicts increased consumer savings, as well as the rollout of the vaccine and a government aid package helping erase last year’s losses. Franchising is projected to open more than 26,000 locations and add nearly 800,000 new jobs in 2021. Eating and drinking establishments added 285,900 jobs in February on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Restaurant Association reported. New Mover Marketing can bring new residents who are eager to start dining out again to your restaurant, but the rest is up to you. The key to building long-lasting relationships with customers is to serve high-quality, consistent cuisine that is of good value. If those standards are met when new movers are brought into your restaurant via New Mover Marketing, you’re already on your way to forming loyal, long-term relationships with the customers in your community.   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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Las Vegas Low-Cost Living attracts Out-of-State Remote Workers

Las Vegas Out-of-State Movers

NBC Las Vegas — Call it a “Zoom Town.” Working from home is bringing some big benefits to Las Vegas. As companies stay remote, Las Vegas is making the top of the moving list. More than 20,000 people have moved to the Las Vegas valley since January. People from places like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles can stretch their dollar further while working remotely with their same companies. “Las Vegas is such an ideal place to live. We have the mountains, we have the great weather.” Susan Nagi with Our Town America, a new mover marketing program said the Las Vegas branch has been busy sending out welcome packets to new residents. “So many people are moving out of places like Seattle and New York because they can now work remotely,” Nagi said. You can also add New Mexico to the list. In February, Spotify announced its “Work from Anywhere” program. Giving employees the opportunity to choose their work mode. Whether that be at the office or at home as well as their location. Microsoft, a company also pushing a hybrid work option, released a survey saying flexible work is here to stay. With more than 70% of workers wanting flexible work options to continue, citing a better work-life balance. If you turn to job sites like LinkedIn, remote opportunities are endless. New residents are also giving a boost to local small businesses around the valley. “The lunch rushes are picking up in the residential areas because people are working from home and they don’t travel as far out,” Nagi said. In the last few weeks, Ori’Zabas in Centennial Hills has seen new faces. “We see a lot of, not big groups, but solo diners. They used to come with limited time but now it seems like they’re working from home so they don’t have a lunch limit,” said Julit Molena, general manager. As well as an uptick in delivery orders. “We had to go through some changes, we had to adjust and we came out pretty good,” Molena said. Molena said they’ve developed a new system that can now cater to a booming population.             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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Phoenix Welcomes Telecommuting New Movers

Phoenix Telecommuting New Movers

CBS Phoenix — About a year ago, Phoenix started seeing the effects of what would become a global pandemic. Now, locals are starting to notice something else: a lot of new people moving to town! Phoenix is being called a “Zoom Town” as people move from big cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles in search of a better life. “Zoom Towns”— named after the video conferencing platform — are becoming popular as more companies across the country allow employees the freedom and flexibility of remote work. 56% of all workers have the ability to do their jobs from home (Global Workplace Analytics) Microsoft just released a survey showing flexible work is here to stay Arizona is one of the most popular destinations for new movers during the pandemic. The Grand Canyon State saw the fourth highest percentage of inbound migration at 61% (United Van Lines) According to a new survey from Neighbor.com, 72% of Americans say they are looking forward to meeting their new neighbors. The same survey found 46% would like to get more involved in local events. These remote workers are leaving the high rents and heavy traffic behind and flocking to cities like Phoenix to live, while keeping their high-paying jobs in other parts of the country. Our Town America — the nation’s premier New Mover Marketing program — is studying this trend nationwide. As moving industry experts, we always keep a close eye on the market, and since the beginning of 2021, the numbers have been striking! Since January 2021, Our Town America has mailed to over 21,000 Phoenix new movers. This influx of new residents effects everything from local businesses, to children’s school availability, to home prices and more. Susan Nagi, the owner of Our Town America of The Valley, connects local businesses with new movers by way of New Mover Marketing each and every month. Check out Nagi’s interview with CBS via Zoom (imagine that!) to hear more on this trend.       Our Town America supports small businesses across the nation 365 days per year. If you’re a local Phoenix business looking to reach new or current customers, contact Susan Nagi at ‭480-678-1366‬‬. If your business is located outside the Phoenix area, contact Our Town America corporate at 1-800-497-8360 to be connected with your local representative.   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 Ranks on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500® for the 3rd Time

Our Town America Ranks on Entrepreneur's Franchise 500® for the 3rd Time

Entrepreneur Franchise 500 – Our Town America, the nation’s leading new mover marketing franchise, recently ranked as #394 in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500®, the world’s first, best and most comprehensive franchise ranking. Placement in the Franchise 500® is a highly sought-after honor in the franchise industry making it one of the company’s most competitive rankings ever. Recognized as an invaluable resource for potential franchisees, the Franchise 500® ranks Our Town America, for the third time, for its outstanding performance in areas including unit growth, financial strength and stability, and brand power. “2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but it was also a year of unusual opportunity,” says Jason Feifer, Entrepreneur editor-in-chief. “Franchises were able to be nimble and innovative, serving the needs of franchisees and customers in ways that will resonate for many years to come. We believe that, when we eventually look back on this time, we’ll see it as a moment when many brands defined themselves for the future.” In Entrepreneur’s continuing effort to best understand and evaluate the ever-changing franchise marketplace, the company’s 42-year-old ranking formula continues to evolve as well. The key factors that go into the evaluation include costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. Each franchise is given a cumulative score based on an analysis of more than 150 data points, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500® in ranking order. Throughout its 42 years in existence, the Franchise 500® has become both a dominant competitive measure for franchisors and a primary research tool for potential franchisees. Our Town America’s position on the ranking is a testament to its strength as a franchise opportunity. “Our brand making this distinguished list for the third time despite the challenges of the 2020 pandemic – including business closures and some scaled-back marketing budgets – is a testament to our resilient business model as well as the hard work and dedication from our system as a whole,” says Our Town America’s CEO Michael Plummer. “We are very proud of this accomplishment and are looking forward to another fantastic year helping businesses gain and retain new customers through our new mover marketing program, postcard programs and various other direct mail offerings”. To view Our Town America in the full ranking, visit www.entrepreneur.com/franchise500. Results can also be seen in the January/February 2021 issue of Entrepreneur. — About Our Town America For over 48 years, Our Town America has been providing new movers with traditional hospitality by mailing warm housewarming gifts from local neighborhood businesses in a premium Welcome Package. Since the company started franchising in 2005, Our Town America has consistently been placed in the Franchise Top 50, ranking top in their category for franchisee satisfaction. Our Town America’s dedication to the “sponsor exclusivity” concept, meaning Our Town America will only recommend one of each business type in any specific zip code within its Welcome Packages, has been one of the key catalysts for the company’s long-term success. In addition, sponsors consistently rave about other unique aspects of the new mover marketing program – such as their ability to reach a brand-new audience of impressionable new movers each month and the insightful data/metrics delivered by Our Town America’s innovative pinpoint tracking system. Due in large part to Our Town America’s devotion to those concepts, thousands of satisfied business owners throughout the United States attest to the success and effectiveness of the program. Additionally, dozens of locally owned franchisees validate Our Town America’s concept as a viable business opportunity. It is Our Town America’s mission to assist new movers adjusting to their community, help businesses gain new and loyal customers and provide franchisees with an excellent opportunity. The eight million households who receive Our Town America’s Welcome Packages each year prove that Our Town America is committed to following through on that mission statement. For more information, explore our website or call 1-800-497-8360. 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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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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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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