Choosing to pursue a career in the military is an admirable investment in both the country and a person’s future. Of the more than one million men and women that make up our country’s Armed Forces, each has his or her own reason for choosing to enlist.
For Jim Bowe, the path that led him to the Air Force was a natural one – and one that provided him the dedication, strength and willpower necessary to later follow a path to embrace his entrepreneurial side and open his own franchise.
Jim joined the Air Force ROTC at Brigham Young University in 1979. Following his graduation in 1985, he went on to pilot training and then became an instructor at the Air Force Undergraduate Navigator Training School in California. In 1989, Jim became an AC-130H Aircraft Commander for the 16th Special Operations Squadron in Florida, flying Spectre gunships for various missions across the world.
After separating from the Air Force in 1999, Jim continued flying commercially for Continental Express and then American Airlines. Although flying for commercial airlines meant Jim had more time to spend with family – compared to the 270 days he spent overseas each year on average when he was an Air Force pilot – Jim saw many of his colleagues being furloughed and worried that it could happen to him, too.
Following a New Path
In 2003, Jim’s brother approached him with the idea of going into business together. For Jim and his wife, Elizabeth, it was a thought that would not only provide them with a financial backup plan, but one that also gave them the opportunity to realize a lifelong dream. Jim and Elizabeth had discussed wanting to start their own business for years – even during Jim’s tenure in the Air Force – but held back out of concern that their respective backgrounds would not support their passion for business ownership.
This time, Jim and Elizabeth decided to take a leap of faith and became owners of their very own Postal Connections franchise in 2003.
Finding Support and Success
By franchising with Postal Connections, Jim and Elizabeth found a network of support not unlike the camaraderie Jim was so accustomed to from his time in the military. When medical issues challenged this husband and wife team only a few years after opening their first Postal Connections store and right before the busiest season of the year, the entire Postal Connections franchise family was there in support, offering to help in any way they could.
Coming from a world with procedures and checklists in place for everything he did, Jim’s experience from the Air Force and commercial airline industry provided him the ability to approach his Postal Connections business strategically. From employee training to marketing best practices and everything in between, the systems and processes that Postal Connections has in place for its franchisees are what Jim credits for the success of his stores. Above all else, Jim strives to take care of his employees and customers first – much like he was trained as an officer in the Air Force to make his troops his first priority.
Today, Jim and Elizabeth own and operate three Postal Connections stores in Red Lion, Lancaster and Ephrata, Pennsylvania, which opened earlier this year. Elizabeth and their son-in-law now oversee the day-to-day operations of both businesses, and Jim and Elizabeth have realized their most important goal with their Postal Connections stores – a family business and lasting legacy.
Fred Morache is the COO of Postal Connections, a business services franchise connecting consumers with convenient access to postal products, shipping, printing, creative services, copying, faxing, passport services, notary and shredding in more than 15 states, and CEO of iSOLD It, which provides consumer support for selling on eBay, Amazon and Craigslist.