Retirees Discover New Direction With Franchising Business

Discovery Map International, a provider of curated tools for exploration to top tourist attractions, cities and towns throughout North America, recently welcomed Kurt and Melissa Godwin as the owners of its newest location, Discovery Map of Southwest Florida.

Discovery Maps are colorful, hand-drawn maps that have become a favorite of travelers for navigating local dining, attractions, businesses, cultural experiences and tourist destinations.

Discovery Map franchise owners come from many walks of life. Some are corporate refugees or semi-retired individuals like the Godwins looking to build a business and supplement their retirement. Others include recent college grads, as well as mothers (and fathers) looking to build a business with hours around the kids’ school schedules.

“Discovery Map is truly a unique and appealing franchise opportunity. It’s not a 9-to-5 gig and you don’t necessarily have to work 12 months a year to run a successful franchise. You just have to be willing to work hard when you work,” said Peter Hans, CEO of Discovery Map International, which is based in Waitsfield, Vermont.

The simple, yet creative Discovery Map franchise was a perfect fit for the Godwins, a fun-loving couple, who weren’t quite ready for full-time retirement. The couple also didn’t want a business that would require 24/7/365 of their attention (The Godwins previously owned Mosquito Joe franchises in Baltimore and Annapolis, MD).

As avid boaters, the Godwins wanted something that would leave them time to travel and pursue their passion for the water. The Godwins had only moved to Cape Coral, Florida a few years ago. So, the business opportunity would need to be something that would be easy to launch in a community where they were relatively new. While the couple had planned for their retirement, they wanted something that ensured certain earnings with growth potential.

Discovery Map met all those criteria and then some.

“We had retired to Cape Coral in late 2019. On a return trip to our previous home in Maryland this past summer, we kept finding Discovery Maps at every location while on a boat trip to the southern Chesapeake Bay. We absolutely loved them, and it got our wheels turning,” said Kurt. “We were not ready to settle down to complete retirement, so we called Discovery Map and asked if they had a map in our area in Florida. They didn’t. We jumped on the opportunity to start a map down here and are very excited to bring these great maps to southwest Florida.”

Discovery Map of Southwest Florida will include sites and destinations within Cape Coral, Pine Island, as well as Sanibel and Captiva Islands initially. Future plans include expansion to Ft Myers, Ft Myers Beach and Bonita Springs. Naples and Marco Island are also on the radar.

Discovery Maps are typically found on display in local stores, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions. In addition, offers curated content to complement the printed map. The interactive map found on is to scale, thus can be used for turn-by-turn directions, as well as to access detailed information about areas of interest, places to eat, lodging and other noteworthy sites.

The Godwins represent a growing trend of Discovery map franchise owners who took early retirement but were really looking to take a break before deciding on their next venture, something they could build into their new lifestyle. They were so excited about the opportunity, they told a boating friend of theirs, Mark Fullem.

“When I retired earlier this year, I was looking for an opportunity that would let me relocate to the place I want to be, Annapolis,” said Fullem, who worked as a marketing executive for UnitedHealth Group over the last three decades. “Kurt and Melissa had just purchased the Discovery Map of Cape Coral (FL) and suggested I look into the Annapolis map. It really seemed like a perfect fit for what I want to do and where I want to be.”

Fullem purchased the Discovery Map of Annapolis in November 2020.

“We have seen a trend with several new franchise owners looking to leave the grind of the corporate world or running a full-time business. Many of these folks have taken early retirement due to the pandemic,” said Hans. “There are many franchise opportunities out there for this demographic. We’re thankful to be one of them and offer an opportunity that checks a lot of boxes for early retirees.”

Hans suggests several criteria to consider when making the decision to buy a business. These should include but are not limited to:

  • Finding an opportunity that enables you to create your own schedule.
  • Location, location, location – some franchise opportunities may provide you the opportunity to live where you want.
  • Growth – everyone wants a return on their investment and efforts. Find an opportunity that meets your current and future financial needs.

Discovery Map International has more than 130 maps nationwide. For more information, visit or call 802-316-4060.

Previous ArticleNext Article
Send this to a friend