The Boulder Designs Franchise is a Dream Come True for the Torrey Family

Boulder Designs Franchise Torrey

With Clearly Defined Roles, This Foursome Has Mastered the Art of Running a Family Business

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Boulder Designs franchisee John Torrey can’t believe how well business ownership with the low-cost niche franchise is going for him and his family. “Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” he says. “Not all family businesses work out, but we love working together.”

Running a Family Business

The former private equity executive believes that his family’s custom boulder business has thrived because of the way they run it. Each family member has his or her own, clearly defined role. John’s wife, Lisa, a former project manager, runs the administrative and minority sales end of the business. Their son, James, came from the tech industry, and now manages production. James’ girlfriend, Robyn, does all the creative work like the Photoshop mock-ups they use to show clients how a boulder design will look. She also hand-paints many of the details on the stones.

Boulder Designs Franchise

John’s specialty is selling custom boulders to commercial clients such as homeowners associations, restaurants and municipalities. His sales pitch goes something like this: “You only have one chance to make a great first impression.” This tactic works well, and the entrances of many of their neighboring communities and businesses are marked by the Torreys’ custom creations. In addition to entry stones, another hot area of business for the Torreys has been headstones. They are able to produce them at a fraction of the cost of traditional ones— around 50-70% less. “It’s a great alternative for customers who can’t afford granite stones, plus they can be customized and look amazing.”

Creating Works of Art on Boulders

John and his family are proud of their work. He describes it as an art form. “Our boulders are exceptional,” he says. From the carved edges that James has mastered, to the special design flair that Robyn brings, the Torreys family business and work has been recognized by the corporate office and other Boulder Designs franchisees. Although John admits that you can’t really mess up the concrete boulders, he says franchise owners can put their own signature on them.

Boulder Designs Franchise

Diversity in Franchising

When it comes to diversity, John jokes that they have it covered. “We are as diverse as they come in terms of gender, age, race and sex,” he says. As owners of a minority-owned business, the Torreys feel that the franchise community is doing a decent job with diversity and inclusion initiatives but still has a long way to go. “The industry needs to attract younger people overall,” he says. “James and Robyn are living proof that younger people can thrive as franchise owners.”

About the Boulder Designs Franchise

Boulder designs franchise

Boulder Designs franchise owners feel good about the products they sell. Made of concrete material, the custom creations mimic stone at a much lower cost. But just like rock, they hold up to storms and are even backed by a warranty program. Here are some more perks for franchisees:

  • Low cost of entry
  • Unique concept with no competition
  • High margins
  • Commercial and residential customers
  • Low cost of goods
  • Recession- and pandemic-resistant
  • Strong support and training
  • Flexible model: Can be part- or full-time
  • Simple business: Easy to run with few employees needed
  • Vast customer base
  • Endless product options: The possibilities are limited only by the imagination. Creations include benches, drink dispensers, fencing columns and memorials (pet and human)

About Family Businesses

According to Cornell’s SC Johnson College of Business, nearly 60 percent of family businesses believe their ethical standards are more stringent than competing firms. reports that 1.2 million family-owned small businesses are run by a husband and wife, and 30% of family businesses survive the transition from first to second-generation ownership.

For more information about the Boulder Designs franchise, visit

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Jill Abrahamsen’s career spans more than 25 years in editorial, design, and marketing roles. As the editorial director of IFPG, she serves as editor-in-chief of Franchise Consultant Magazine and FranchiseWire. Through both platforms, Jill helps franchisors spread the word about their brands and reports on the latest franchise news and trends. A skilled storyteller, Jill communicates franchisor’s messages through feature articles and franchisee interviews.

Jill is an accomplished writer, editor and graphic designer. Her extensive experience includes key roles with major consumer publications, including Boating, Popular Photography, and Design NJ magazines. As founding editor-in-chief of Franchise Dictionary magazine, Jill developed her passion and fascination for franchising which continues to grow in her role at IFPG.
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