From Summer Job to Franchise Empire: The Rise of ATAX Area Developer Christina Gallo
When Cristina Gallo thinks of ATAX, one word comes to mind: empowerment. Through ATAX, she has built a franchise empire and has helped hundreds of ATAX franchisees and employees succeed. In 1999, when she was just 16 years old, Gallo came to New York City for a summer job. She had no idea it would lead her to become an integral part of launching and growing the ATAX franchise operation, eventually becoming a successful Latina entrepreneur and area developer in the process.
At the time, she knew nothing about bookkeeping, franchising or taxes, but met ATAX founder Rafael Alvarez who became her mentor. “He taught me everything about the business,” she says. Together, they grew the Latino-focused tax preparation brand’s first location into a booming business.
In 2007, Gallo helped Alvarez launch the franchise operation and trained every new franchisee who joined the system. She worked as part of the corporate team even after deciding to open her own location in Orlando, Fla. In the years following, she opened two more locations. “I promised myself that once I reached 1,000 customers at each shop, I would buy another location,” says the Latina entrepreneur.
Loyalty Brands and ATAX
After ATAX partnered with Loyalty Brands in 2019, Gallo became an area developer with 21 locations in the Central Florida region. She was impressed with the new management team, especially Loyalty Brand’s founder and CEO John Hewitt, who is a legend in both the tax industry and franchising. He made her a promise that she would be a millionaire by 2026. “He wrote it down on a piece of paper, signed it and I have it framed on the wall. I am well on the way,” she says.
Gallo was also impressed with ATAX’s new CEO, Alberto Ortiz. “When he first came on board, I handed him a list of issues that ATAX franchisees face, and he tackled them one by one. I call him ‘Mr. Get it Done.’”
Empowering Franchisee Success
Ortiz says the secret to a brand’s success is communication and collaboration. “My job is to listen. Our culture is from the bottom up, not from the top down. When you work this way, you have happy and successful franchisees,” he explains. Currently, ATAX has 105 franchise locations open and 900 awarded. “We plan to double our footprint of open locations by the end of the year.”
Ortiz is grateful to lead a brand with so many passionate franchisees like Gallo. “Our culture is second to none,” he says.
For more information about the ATAX franchise, visit https://ataxfranchise.com/.
The Surge in Latino-Owned Businesses
Latina entrepreneur Christina Gallo represents just one of the many impressive success stories in the ATAX franchise system. The opportunities are boundless with ATAX because it leverages a growing, recession-proof industry and a rising demographic.
JP Morgan Chase & Co. calls Latino-owned businesses “the U.S. economy’s best bet” because Latinos are starting small businesses faster than the rest of the startup population and becoming a bigger part of the total U.S. market every day. Additionally, tax preparation services continue to flourish. According to IBISWorld, the tax U.S. preparation services industry was valued at $14.3 billion in 2022 and has grown 4.3% per year on average between 2017 and 2022 — faster than the economy overall.