U.S. Navy Veterans Bring More Than FASTSIGNS Promise to North Charleston, South Carolina

In April 2006, U.S. Navy veterans Woody Poole and Milton Guerrero met aboard a world tour of the USS Carl Vinson…little did the two Junior Petty Officers know that less than seven years later as Chief Petty Officers, the newly found friendship would ultimately blossom into a prosperous business relationship with FASTSIGNS International, Inc.

So, how did the two decide on the leader in signs, graphics and visual communications as their franchisor of choice?

With thousands of franchise business opportunities available, Woody and Milton, then Propulsion Plant Watch Supervisors in the Naval Nuclear Power Program, needed to review several elements before selecting the franchise system that would best fit their lifestyles and overall business goals. Choosing a franchise that offered a set schedule and work/life balance was paramount for the two – they knew that owning a food service business, for example, was not in the cards for them due to the industry’s notoriously unpredictable schedule.

Another factor that played into their decision to sign on with FASTSIGNS International was the impressive amount of franchisee support offered before, during and especially after the center’s opening. Each franchisee benefits from the brand’s team of dedicated Business Consultants who assist with business/finances training, marketing and sales, as well as production and staff management. In addition, onsite training includes one week at a FASTSIGNS® center, followed by two weeks at the company’s Carrollton headquarters and one week onsite at the new center. The entire leadership team is truly dedicated to each franchisee increasing sales and profitability. This high level of support reinforced Woody and Milton’s decision to join the FASTSIGNS family – the pair knew that FASTSIGNS International, Inc. would not lead them in the wrong direction.

Additionally, the company offers complete transparency through its Franchise Disclosure Document. Woody and Milton appreciated that when reviewing the financial requirements and fees associated with owning their own center, there were no hazy loopholes or unclear verbiage within.

Direct accessibility to FASTSIGNS International, Inc.’s CEO, Catherine Monson, was another huge selling point for the duo. Every six weeks, the CEO makes herself available for a “Connect with Catherine” conference call where she discusses various topics of interest to business owners.

The pair was most attracted to the brand’s commitment to veterans. FASTSIGNS is a proud participant of the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program (Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative), which assists military veterans by helping them access franchise opportunities through training, financial assistance and industry support. Veterans that join the FASTSIGNS U.S. network (which boasts 10 percent of its centers are veteran-owned) can take advantage of specific incentives including a reduced franchise fee of $22,250, a savings of 50 percent, in addition to reduced royalties and advertising fees for the first year. FASTSIGNS International has also been recognized as a top franchise for military veterans by publications including USA TodayG.I. Jobs Magazine and Military Times Magazine, due to the recognition for the company’s financial discounts for military veterans, corporate support and outstanding growth.

Most recently, FASTSIGNS International received the prestigious Pro Patria Award, which is presented annually by each Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve State Committee. The company was nominated by Stephen MacKenzie, a Franchise Consultant for FASTSIGNS International and Air Force Reservist from Indianapolis, Indiana after his recent deployment overseas. As recipient of the Pro Patria Award, FASTSIGNS International demonstrated support to MacKenzie and his family through leadership and by adopting policies that support Guard and Reserve employees. Additionally, the company was a finalist for the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition presented by the Department of Defense to employers for their exemplary support of National Guard and Reserve members.

After much discussion, the duo decided to move forward with investing into FASTSIGNS International, Inc. Fast-forward to three years later, Milton and Woody are hard at work at their North Charleston, South Carolina FASTSIGNS center. Woody, who hails from Queens, N.Y. and Milton, originally from Macon, Georgia, describe their relationship as a “Ying to my Yang” partnership. In addition to leaning on the support received from their franchisor, the two continually motivate each other.

As a veteran-friendly franchisor, FASTSIGNS International wants its veteran franchisees to succeed – this means the brand will only partner with strong candidates who have an impressive military background who meet the net worth requirements.

The fast-growing FASTSIGNS brand currently has over 600 locations worldwide in nine countries, but is looking to expand with additional veteran-owned centers. Due to the ongoing worldwide need for visual communications and digital signage technology, the company expects to open another 45 to 50 locations in 2016, as well as finalize master franchise agreements in two new countries.

For information about the FASTSIGNS franchise opportunity, contact Mark Jameson (mark.jameson@fastsigns.com or 214-346-5679) or to learn more about the FASTSIGNS veteran program, visit www.fastsigns.com.

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