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Business Ownership Fuels Teaching Career and Vice Versa

Our Town America Northern Colorado Franchise Owner and Teacher

Starting a business is hard. That’s why you may have heard, “Are you crazy? Don’t quit your day job.” Kurtis North isn’t crazy, but he did start a business – and what’s more, he didn’t quit his day job. Kurt is the owner of Our Town Northern Colorado in Fort Collins, Colorado, but he is also a Communication Studies instructor at Colorado State University, teaching courses such as Introduction to Public Speaking and Evaluating Contemporary Television. Until recently, he was also an assistant football coach at a nearby high school, but after eight years, he turned in his clipboard. He is a busy guy, after all. In addition to teaching and running his business, Kurt and his wife, Bridget—a fifth grade teacher herself—have three daughters, all under the age of nine. Still, they’ve made it all work, and they’ve put together a nice life – and Our Town America has been an important piece of the puzzle. The Our Town piece While not necessarily motivated by money or material objects, Kurt knew there was more out there for him. He thought about side jobs or entirely new careers. Instead, he found something else: a franchise. “I enjoyed teaching but wanted to try my hand at new things. Being an entrepreneur and a small business owner offered a challenge—something I’ve never done but felt I could do.” The franchise opportunity offered so much more than just a side gig or a career change. In many ways, it offered the best of both worlds, and then some. And while there can be financial limitations as a teacher, it’s a rewarding profession – and offers stability, something that Kurt never took for granted. He didn’t want to subtract teaching from his life, he wanted to add something else – and being a business owner seemed perfect. “I’d read that starting a side business is often less stressful, and often more successful, than just jumping in fully. Because of that, owning a certain kind of franchise seemed like it could be the right fit.” And with some availability over the summers and during the afternoons he used to dedicate to football, Kurt felt he would have time to run a small business. After weighing a few options and thinking about his strengths and experiences, Kurt started researching various franchise opportunities and ended up reading about Our Town America in a franchise publication. He was impressed. “It has a reasonable franchise buy-in agreement,” Kurt says. “And it just sounded like something that would work out well based on my schedule and commitments. Plus, I liked how well the leadership at Our Town guided me through the process. They made it easy and made me confident in my decision.” He also placed quite a few phone calls to Our Town America franchisees around the country, and he liked what he heard from the owners, which was important. Not only was it a good fit for his skill set and schedule, Kurt knew a tremendous amount about what it’s like to be a new mover and how unsettling it can be, not knowing what doctor to go to, where to have your clothes dry cleaned, or what restaurants are worth going to. Amongst some of the places he had lived, he had spent some of his 20s living abroad in Madrid, Spain, teaching English to adults. That’s where he met Bridget, a fellow American doing the same thing. They wound up moving to Fort Collins briefly, next to Costa Rica, then to Los Angeles and, finally, back to Fort Collins – and in the process, getting married and having three beautiful children. Kurt also had selling in his background. And while he didn’t feel that he was a typical salesperson, he had done his share of getting in front of people. Further, he even had experience on the other side of the table, having worked in small business—Kurt grew up working in his dad’s restaurant, starting at the age of five. Many of Our Town’s best partners are restaurants (not to mention doctors and dentists’ offices). “Part of why I chose Our Town,” Kurt says, “is that the concept made sense—not just for me, but for what I assumed about my potential clients as well. If I owned my dad’s restaurant, reaching new residents would seem like a foundation for that business. I feel like I’m a reasonable person, and there isn’t any reason why other business owners wouldn’t feel the same way as I did.” The more Kurt thought about it, the more he liked the idea of owning an Our Town America franchise. Sure, not giving up his day job could’ve posed issues, but Kurt felt he could balance both jobs well. By giving up coaching football, he knew he could find the time to put in the work. Plus, as he explained, “Yes, this is a part-time thing for me, but I’m not going to put my time, energy, and money into it and not capitalize on it.” That said, Kurt says he sees himself as a full-time dad and husband first, a full-time teacher second, and a full-time business owner third. He doesn’t really do anything part-time. Moving into Our Town America If I know I only have four hours to work on my business, I have to be efficient In 2016, Kurt made the leap and became a franchise owner. Three years later, he has no regrets, other than noting, “I just wish I would’ve done it sooner.” Still, there are always challenges. “The biggest obstacle is organizing my time,” Kurt says. That’s because from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he is on campus. From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., he works on Our Town America. During the two days he isn’t on campus, he splits his time on everything from spending time with his kids, just being a dad; to grading papers and working on lectures at CSU; to making calls, sending emails, and meeting with […]

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Our Town America Named a Top Franchise Brand by Entrepreneur Magazine

Our Town America Ranked on Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List 2019

Clearwater, FL (January 21, 2019) Our Town America, the nation’s first and fastest growing new mover marketing franchise, recently ranked 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, as evidenced by the fact that Entrepreneur received more than 1,000 applications this year, making it one of the company’s most competitive rankings ever. Recognized as an invaluable resource for potential franchisees, the Franchise 500® ranked Our Town America 428th for its outstanding performance in areas including unit growth, financial strength and stability, and brand power. “As we celebrate 40 years of producing the Franchise 500, it’s a good opportunity to step back and look at how much has changed since that first ranking in 1980,” says Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur. “While the franchise business model has changed little, the strongest franchise brands are constantly evolving and innovating to keep up with changing trends and technology.” 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. Over its 40 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. To view Our Town America in the full ranking, visit www.entrepreneur.com/franchise500. Results can also be seen in the January/February 2019 issue of Entrepreneur, available on newsstands January 15th. For more information on the Our Town America franchise opportunity, please visit https://www.newmoverfranchise.com/. About Our Town America For over 45 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, visit the Our Town America website at https://www.ourtownamerica.com 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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What are proven offers?

We all get coupons in the mail that we will never use

When talking about new mover marketing programs, we often mention proven offers. But what are proven offers and why do they matter? We all get coupons in the mail- it’s practically a fact of life. We are all familiar with the coupon books and bundles delivered in our mailbox every week. Most of these coupons are for a fixed dollar amount off a purchase, buy one get one free offers, or a percentage off. These coupons are often mixed and it requires effort to go through them all. We know that these types of coupons and mailers carry low response rates. Only a tiny percentage of people will redeem an offer for a free soft drink with a purchase or a dollar off a lunch buffet. A tiny percentage of people will redeem an offer for a free soft drink with a purchase… Since 1972, we have worked with hundreds of thousands of businesses to bring new customers through their doors with our new mover welcome package. This welcome package is full of gift certificates that invite the new mover in to various local businesses to try their products and services. While that may sound simple, there is a science behind it. Our goal is to make our new mover marketing program bring you great results, so how do we determine what works and what doesn’t? Through our proven offers! So what are proven offers? Our proven offers are gifts to new movers which historically have an exceptional response rate, which allows us to accurately determine future response rates. To put it another way, let’s look at an example for pizza shops. When we set up a new mover marketing campaign for a local pizzeria, we look at what has worked in the past. We know offering a free large pizza is all but guaranteed to get redeemed over a coupon for 25% off the customer’s entire purchase. Imagine for just a moment you have recently moved to a new city. You only know of major pizza chains in the area and you know nothing about any of the locally owned pizza shops. If you’re like me, the national chains are fine if that’s all there is, but there is nothing like a great locally owned pizza shop. You get a coupon in the mail for 25% off an entire purchase at a national chain and a gift certificate for a free pizza at a local pizzeria. Which one are you going to be quickest to redeem? If your family has the opportunity for a free pizza at a local pizza shop, no strings attached, do you think you would act upon it? You bet you would! Each redeemed certificate contributes to the data used to calculate our proven offers. The same holds true for other industries too! Which would you make a priority to redeem: $5 off a haircut or a free haircut? $10 off an oil change or a free oil change? You get the picture. We compare the certificates scanned to the number of mailings that have gone out… How do we know these certificates get redeemed? Through our TruTrak® software, each business scans certificates and our database instantly updates to reflect the redemption. We compare the certificates scanned to the number of mailings that have gone out to help determine if an offer is successful. We have over 45 years of historical data on-hand to help us accurately predict the success rate of every new mover marketing campaign. That’s data from millions of certificates redeemed at thousands of businesses at our disposal so we know what works and what doesn’t. This all plays an important role in how we determine a proven offer. Besides knowing which gifts are being redeemed, we take it a step further. Each new mover is invited to take part in a new mover survey which gives us unbiased ratings and reviews for the businesses in the welcome package. The data collected from the survey allows us to know exactly what people are saying about the offer they’ve redeemed and their experience at the business, good and bad. If an offer has a high response rate, but a low customer satisfaction rate we know that there are adjustments to make. We receive thousands of survey results every month and they are all reviewed by real people. Using proven offers is vital to your new mover marketing campaign and we have nearly half a century of data at our fingertips to make the best recommendations for your business. Contact me today for a free, no-obligation market analysis so we can determine which of our proven offers will make your campaign a success! Steven SgroiSteven is Our Town America’s corporate sales manager and oversees the national sales team. www.ourtownamerica.com […]

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Your Pizza Is Delicious. Get New Customers to Take a Bite with New Mover Marketing

pizza marketing can make a huge impact on your business

Pizza marketing doesn’t have to be a challenge. Two things are inevitable: everyone moves at some point in their life, and everyone needs to eat to survive. And, while maybe not applicable to every single person in the US, MOST people like pizza. In fact, pizza is a $30 billion per year industry. So, as a restaurant owner or marketer for a local or chain pizzeria, it seems like a no brainer to advertise your product to new residents in your market/area/city. But why haven’t you started yet? You do Facebook marketing and sometimes you stick a sign about an event you’re hosting on your business lawn, but these methods are not necessarily geared towards new movers. What if your prospective clients don’t have internet yet or simply haven’t driven by your storefront to see that sign? In fact, getting new, working internet can take up to 2 weeks after moving into a new residence. …Partnered pizzerias and pizza restaurants can see response rates over 27% This is where New Mover Marketing comes into play. While we can’t speak for all New Mover programs, Our Town America’s partnered pizzerias and pizza restaurants can see response rates of 27.66% (based on our historical data). This means over 27% of new movers who receive gift certificates are redeeming them. That number is unheard of! ‘How the heck is that even possible? Isn’t direct mail dead?’ You may be thinking to yourself. Very far from dead, actually. According to the U.S. Postal Service, 98% of Americans check their mail on a daily basis. While email can get overwhelming with hundreds of promotional emails received daily, direct mail is delivered just once a day. Many people actually look forward to opening a tangible envelope that was placed in their personal mailbox. Furthermore, the Our Town America envelope is personally addressed to the new mover by name – not to “current resident” or “owner”, but to ‘The Robinson Household’, for example. Unlike other mailers, the Our Town America New Mover Welcoming Package is received only once – not periodically, eliminating the possibility for consumers to see it as a bother. Not only will your prospective customers be inclined to open this piece of mail addressed directly to them, but they will also be intrigued by the “Housewarming Gifts from Your Neighborhood” text on the front of this beautifully crafted, oversized envelope. Your pizzeria will stand out from others in your area, as you will be the only pizza restaurant in your chosen zip codes’ package. This is key, as you are introducing your business to new movers before your competition even has a chance! Your new mover gift certificate offer is decided upon by you with the help of our skilled New Mover Experts who have access to 46+ years of historical response rate and offer data at their fingertips. Once your new customers redeem their one-time housewarming offer, the gift certificate is scanned to gather accurate tracking data, as well as trigger the second loyalty mailing. This loyalty mailer is a one-time postcard mailed to the new mover shortly after they redeem their New Mover Gift Certificate. This loyalty mailer allows you to present new residents with a second offer, or just simply thank them for stopping in and invite them back. This is seen as an extra touch, as not many pizzerias will go out of their way to thank their customers for stopping by, or even know who is new to their establishment. This shows that you are in tune with your business, the neighborhood, and that you go the extra mile. If you are looking for a way to ramp up your pizza marketing, look no further than in your own backyard. While there are many ways to market your business, there is no other like our New Mover Marketing program; a one-time mailer to new residents, personalized by name, offering free offers (not just discounts), trackable, full color, exclusive to your pizzeria and offering a second follow-up mailer. If you are looking for a way to ramp up your pizza marketing, look no further than in your own backyard. Our Town America is available in all US markets, and would love for you to gain new, loyal customers while creating a bridge between your business and consumers. Want to get started? Contact me at 800-497-8360 and let’s discuss how we can develop a pizza marketing strategy that will work for you! Steven SgroiSteven is Our Town America’s corporate sales manager and oversees the national sales team. www.ourtownamerica.com […]

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Dave Butz – In the Zone and Loving Life as an Entrepreneur

Dave Butz Work Hard Our Town America

Dave Butz is in the zone. Being a business owner isn’t easy – but he makes it look that way. Before Butz became an Our Town America franchise owner in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, he worked as a plant manager. In fact, for eight years, Butz worked at an industrial factory that made building components. When we caught up with Butz recently, the former plant manager turned Our Town America franchise owner, he was a fountain of information. Here are a few highlights from our conversation. How Butz got started. Butz was good at his job and doing just fine at the factory, but it was a demanding profession, one that required him to be on call, 24/7. “After my son was born, I started thinking that I would like to do something on my own, so I could work my schedule around watching my kids grow up,” Butz says. He began doing research, looking into starting a business or buying a franchise. “I thought about restaurants,” Butz says, adding: “I have no restaurant experience, so I’m so glad I didn’t go that route. I’d probably be back working at my old employer if I had.” He also concludes that even if he had been a successful restaurant owner, it may have been a more time consuming job than being a plant manager. “I work with so many restaurant owners now,” he says. “They’re always working.” Butz learned about Our Town America through a business broker who introduced the franchise to him. Butz liked the concept of the New Mover Marketing company, and the rest is history. The best part of being an Our Town America franchise owner. The last dozen years have demonstrated that Butz’s decision to become a franchise owner was undeniably a good idea. When asked what’s the best thing about being his own business owner, Butz can’t quite come up with only one thing. “You’ve got a lot of flexibility in your schedule, and that’s nice. You’re home for the holidays. You can determine your own income. You’re your own boss,” he says. “Geez, what don’t I like about it?” Hardest thing about being an Our Town America franchise owner. But that isn’t to say running an Our Town America franchise is easy. Being a business owner never is. “You know, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. So you’ve got to be very motivated,” Butz says. “Plus, there’s no water cooler, where you have a crowd of people with whom to interact.” Working in a city that’s known as a tourist destination. Being the owner of a New Mover Marketing franchise in a city like Myrtle Beach can be interesting. Some businesses in vacation destinations, of course, feel that they don’t need to necessarily market to the locals moving in as they have a slew of tourists paying money. Other business owners are desperate to market to the locals; it isn’t like a lot of tourists are flocking to a chiropractor or an auto repair shop in Myrtle Beach. Still, many business owners recognize that they want to attract everyone, local or not. In any case, for Butz, Myrtle Beach has been a good location to set up shop. It’s the second fastest growing area in the country, according to census data, Butz points out. “It’s awesome,” he says. “People are moving down here in droves. It’s turned into a place where people move to year-round, and that’s reason enough for business owners invest in New Mover Marketing, even during the winter, when many owners are careful about their spending.” What businesses seem to really gravitate to Butz. Restaurants, he says. “They’re a dime a dozen over here and very competitive.” The fun stuff. Butz is enjoying being an Our Town America owner, especially the work-life balance that he has managed to create. Butz and his wife, Tanja, are often at the beach or on their boat with their son Finley and daughter Emily. Butz often fishes with his son. The family skis, snowboards and mountain bikes. Tanja runs triathlons, and the kids are both on a soccer team that travels and occupies a lot of time, especially on the weekends, according to Butz. When they’re at home, they hang out with their dog, Lilly, and Finley’s pet turtles. Our Town America is a pretty great business for someone plugged into the community, according to Butz. “You absolutely build some great relationships doing this. I’ve become friends with a lot of my sponsors (clients), and you end up running into your sponsors at the grocery store. This is a small town.” And it probably helps if you’re an extrovert? “Actually, I wouldn’t call myself an extrovert, but I’m not an introvert either. I can turn it on and off when I want to. If someone is 100 percent introvert, this may not be the best fit for them, as relationship building is a large part of this business.” Advice for fellow franchisee owners, especially the new ones? In the beginning, Butz says, it can be challenging to start an Our Town America franchise. “There’s a sink or swim mentality when you first start the business, and if somebody does tell you no, that they aren’t interested, you have to work a little harder. But after a while, when you have a lot of accounts and somebody says no, it gets easier.” But whatever you do, Butz says, “Don’t take rejection personally. Maybe that sounds kind of cheeseball, but it’s all business. You have to stay motivated and not take a ‘no’ to heart. It isn’t personal.” Are you looking to get in the zone as a business owner, like Dave Butz? Does the Our Town America franchise opportunity sound like it could be for you? If so, learn more at https://www.ourtownamerica.com/franchise-us/. 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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Red Salon Celebrates Small Business Saturday

Red Brick Salon Our Town America Fort Myers Small Business Saturday

WINK News Ft. Myers (November 23) — Sally Hanson of Our Town America Fort Myers is a small business owner, and decided to thank her partnered local businesses for Small Business Saturday. Featured on WINK News, Our Town Southwest Florida and Red Salon have a mutually beneficial relationship. If you’re a business in the Fort Myers area and looking to team up with Our Town America Fort Myers, please contact Sally Hanson at 919-349-7611. Our Town America is a national franchise who supports small businesses across the nation 365 days per year. Non-Fort Myers area businesses can reach out to Our Town America directly to get in touch with their local representative at 800-497-8360 or visit us online. Watch full WINK clip below, as well as Behind the Scenes below. 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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Welcome Package Encourages People to Shop Local

Small Business Saturday Our Town America Indian Trail Hardware

Spectrum News Charlotte (November 28) — Small Business Saturday is all about shopping local and one group is working with local stores to spread the word about their business in Indian Trail. Our Town America sends out monthly packets to new neighbors full of coupons to local shops. Stores like Indian Trail Hardware have been including coupons to their store for eight years. On November 24, Indian Trail Hardware customers got Small Business Saturday deals and coupons to a pop-up shop featuring local artists at the store next week. “We’re just glad that they want to participate and be here. Hoping to bring more people for us and for them too,” Karen Wingo, owner of Indian Trail Hardware said. In honor of Small Business Saturday, Our Town America gave Karen Wingo, and the Indian Trail Hardware store, a community service award for their support of local businesses. Watch full video from Spectrum News below. 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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Tavern 14 Reopens, Served Free Thanksgiving Buffet

Tavern 14 Wilmington North Carolina

Wilmington Business Journal (November 21) —Tavern 14, at 6309 Market St. in Wilmington, reopened last week following extensive repairs. Owner Christyne Nagaishi said last month that the building sustained significant water and mold damage as a result of Hurricane Florence. In addition to the damage, Nagaishi estimated a loss of more than $12,000 in food and spirits. She was unsure whether the business would survive. Then, in mid-October, she was informed that Bassam Safi, owner of the Wilmington branch of Our Town America, a national marketing company that targets new residents, had launched a Facebook fundraiser to help a local business get back on its feet following the storm. Nagaishi was recipient of his efforts and received a check for $1,500. “Aside from the money, the donation provided me with a glimmer of hope,” Nagaishi said. “At that point we didn’t know which way to go. We were struggling to get answers from government agencies and insurance companies. This generous gift lifted us up and gave us the kickstart we needed.” Tavern 14 now has a new roof and new floors and ceilings throughout. Nagaishi credits family and friends with helping to get the restaurant back open last week. “It’s been so good to see everyone,” Nagaishi said. “We really wanted to reopen by Thanksgiving so we could give back.” Nagaishi will offer a free Thanksgiving buffet with all the traditional fixings beginning at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. “Because of the economic toll the storm has taken on so many in our region, many people may not be doing what they normally do,” Nagaishi said. “We want them to know they can come here and enjoy themselves and maybe we can provide that glimmer of hope for someone else that is struggling.” Tavern 14 is open from noon to 2 a.m. daily, with a full menu served until closing. 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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