This Couple Started a New Chapter Together as Franchise Owners

Franchise industry, franchisors, franchisees

The Gebharts Prove That Retirement is a Great Time to Look Into Franchise Ownership 

Jeff Gebhart entered retirement with a long list of projects that he thought would keep him busy for years and years to come. He completed the list in record time and was left wondering what he would do next. 

At a crossroads, Jeff realized that he needed more than household projects to fill his days. “I wanted something new, but I wasn’t sure exactly what that looked like,” says the retired petroleum engineer.

 In his search for his next step, he discovered Fibrenew, a leather, plastic and vinyl restoration franchise. “I really liked it because it was a simple and manageable business I could run without any employees if I wished,” he says. 

Family-Like Culture

Jeff also liked the idea that he and his wife, Kim, could team up and manage the business together. It took him a little while to convince Kim, but once she met with the corporate team, she was sold. “I never planned on running a business with my husband, but after flying out to the headquarters in Calgary and learning more, I realized it was a great fit for our lifestyle,” says Kim. “The Fibrenew team is so welcoming. We were treated like family from ‘day one.’”

From the quick start up to the ongoing training and continued support, the Gebharts have been extremely impressed with the franchise system. “Through several hurricanes, a pandemic, and anytime we have had questions, the corporate team has always been ready to help,” says Jeff. 

The couple is also impressed with the potential for business. Although they serve residential clients, business customers are the ones they go after for larger jobs and repeat business. “The possibilities are endless. From restaurants to car dealerships, marinas and even medical offices, our services are needed by all types of businesses. The best part is that they all lead to recurring revenue,” says Jeff. “Even through COVID, the phone kept ringing. There is always demand for our services.” 

Working Together

Franchisees since 2016, the couple work like a team, playing off each other’s strengths. “Each day is a little different, depending on the job,” Jeff says. “Sometimes, Kim will stay in the office and take care of paperwork while I’m out on the field. Other days, we’ll work together, or divide and conquer.” 

Adding On

Pleased with their decision to invest in Fibrenew, the couple added a second territory in 2018. “This business suits our lifestyle. We have total control over our work-life balance,” says Jeff. “We couldn’t be happier.” 

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Jill Abrahamsen’s career spans more than 20 years in editorial, design, and marketing roles. She serves as editor-in-chief of Franchise Consultant Magazine and FranchiseWire. Through both platforms, Jill reports on industry news and helps Franchisors spread the word about their brands.
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