Franchise Spotlight: Hands-On John & Karen Przedpelski

John and Karen Przedpelski believe in a hands-on work environment. They are very involved in managing their Office Evolution in Tampa, Florida and look forward to opening up a second location in Harbour Island this fall. In order to succeed, they like to find out what their members are looking for in the workplace and how they can best accommodate them.

Tell me a little about your background?

We’ve lived in Tampa for over 30 years, where Karen was an accountant and I was the Sr. Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Masonite International. Karen later took some time off to raise our three children. We thought of taking early retirement when our youngest graduated from high school but soon began looking for new business opportunities, and fell in love with Office Evolution.

Why did you decide to open an Office Evolution franchise?

We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel and we liked the people, the training available, and the corporate assistance offered to franchisees through the whole process with Office Evolution. At Masonite, I was responsible for our corporate facilities as well as our Global IT organization, so I was familiar with scouting out properties, signing leases, and working with professionals, which was another thing that really attracted us to Office Evolution.

When we came out for Ohana Day, we both connected with the people and the concept of helping other business owners. The role of an Office Evolution franchisee is a nurturing and more of a supportive role. We get to help people grow their business. That part of the business is one of the more rewarding aspects and is something we get excited about.

Tell us a little about your Business Center Manager

Our Business Center Manager (BCM) is Lori D’Alessio and she’s been with us since last summer. Originally, Karen and I shared the BCM role because we really wanted to learn every detail of the business ourselves and see what Tampa business owners needed to help them succeed.

Lori was originally a member at our Office Evolution location with her prior company, then she came on as our BCM. She was interested in the position and she knew the experiences of the members as she was also a member. She spent a few months with us on a temporary basis, and we quickly determined she was a good fit, so we hired her full time. The members love connecting and receiving help from her. Lori enjoys building our center’s awareness through social media and networking in the community and does a great job running the day to day operations.

We’re looking forward to opening our second location downtown and have found a BCM to help us open the center and help with the pre-selling we have already started on.   We will be able to see what people are looking for in the downtown location so that we can tailor our office to meet their needs.

What makes your location unique?

It’s in a wonderful location called Westshore, which is the largest business district in the state of Florida. Our Location is conveniently located to all major highways and bridges, it’s two miles from the airport, has lots of free parking, and it’s close to restaurants and two large malls.

Our next location is going to be a bit different. It will be on Harbour Island, across a short bridge from the downtown area, in a popular part of town that has lots of new development. Tampa is transforming right now and has a very vibrant downtown life. There are also very busy restaurants and hotels nearby.

We’re excited to be a part of the growth in Tampa. We fully support the exposure and visibility of the OE brand. To help with additional exposure, in our new location, there will be a large illuminated sign on the waterfront across from the Tampa Convention Center that sees thousands of people per day. We can also collaborate with local restaurants and businesses, which will connect us to potential members. We have lived and worked in the area for so long and feel that helps us with reaching out into the community and helping our business succeed.

How were you able to see success?

From the empty Starburst candy jar on the counter — just kidding! I think that it was very good timing. Tampa is growing like crazy, and there’s not a lot of coworking space like Office Evolution so there’s definitely a need for it here. Also, I’m in the office every day, and am very involved with our current and potential members and that’s what we want our Business Center Manager to do as well.

We’re really here to help people grow their business. We love the feedback from our members that we’ve created a really supportive, caring environment with a good atmosphere. We look for members that will thrive in our environment and we’re very honest with people. We have nice, private offices, and host events for both members and non-members to connect. Our goal is to create a place where people come into work with smiles on their faces.

Advice for future Office Evolution franchise owners?

Get engaged in the business. Some people think it’s an absentee business model, but in the beginning, it isn’t, rather semi-absentee is something you can develop over time. We recommend that you be involved in the business as much as you can be and be familiar with the day-to-day operations to connect with the members as a partner.

We want our members to see behind the scenes. I’m in the office almost every day, working on many projects.  Our members know if they need anything, they can find both Lori or me around to lend a hand.  We just completed the expansion of our current space and were pleased to open with it being sold out. Lori runs the business, but I think being in touch with our members (many who started with us when it was Karen and I selling the space) makes a difference for our members, knowing that they can connect to another owner. Regarding our new location downtown, we are working on getting the office up and running, giving tours and pre-selling and getting the word out that Office Evolution is growing again.

Franchise Spotlight: Nature Lovers Kris & Brian Monson

Kris and Brian Monson are not only active in their community, but they also enjoy living an active lifestyle. They both love yoga, camping, and biking. They currently run the Office Evolution Franchise in Carmel, Indiana; located less than three miles from Carmel’s City Center and their home. The perfect location to visit a locally owned restaurant or winery, listen to an outdoor concert, walk the Monon Trail, or simply enjoy the community. Kris is also looking forward to riding her bike to work.

 Tell us a little about your background

Nature Lovers Kris & Brian MonsonI have a background in economics, finance, banking, yoga, and I also worked for our local school system. Basically, I consider myself a jack of all trades. Now, I’m the Business Center Manager and the face of our Office Evolution business. During the day, Brian is a Management Consultant and helps with the business, networking, and during the evening he helps with marketing. We wanted to own a business in Carmel and work as a team, so here we are! 

Why did you decide to open an Office Evolution franchise?

For us, it comes back to our community. We’ve lived in Carmel for over 21 years, and there’s been a lot of growth during that time. Small businesses are very much embraced and supported in Carmel, and one day while walking we asked each other, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a business that could support our local community?” Our Office Evolution franchise allows us to do just that, provide a home for our local entrepreneurs to grow.

 Tell us a bit about your members

The majority of our members live within 10 minutes of our space. We have a lot of local, small business owners, such as financial planners, accountants, and lawyers. The biggest draw to our building is the location. Being close to home, it’s very easy for our members to drop their kids off at school, come to work, then if they need, step out to be a part of an activity at their kid’s school, and return to work to finish the day.

 What makes your location unique?

Nature Lovers Kris & Brian MonsonCarmel, IN is consistently ranked as a top place in the country to live. Our location is minutes to Carmel’s City Center and the Arts & Design District, which provides our members with access to restaurants, breweries, wineries, shopping, concerts, and art galleries. The building is conveniently located near a major highway, is easy to find, and has expansive free parking. We have a really nice outdoor patio area that overlooks a pond. People enjoy going outside to have lunch or just to get a short break from work. Even though we’re in a professional environment, it doesn’t feel like it, especially with the ability to go outside and be a part of nature.

 How were you able to see success?

A lot of hard work and it’s all about following the plan. The coaches at Office Evolution have helped a lot. I enjoy working with my coach weekly and discussing how our center is performing in order to meet the goals we set. We also are networking all the time – with our local chambers and business networking groups. We also like to give back to our community by sponsoring school events and charities. For example, we let non-profit groups use our conference rooms for their board meetings free of charge. It’s a win-win for the community because we can help them, and they help us by getting the word out about Office Evolution.

 

Franchise Spotlight: Tech Enthusiasts David & Carol Whitinger

Tech Enthusiasts David & Carol WhitingerDavid and Carol Whitinger currently own and operate an Office Evolution in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s an exciting time to live in Ann Arbor with all the automotive and autonomous vehicle advancement and Dave and Carol are excited to have a location in such a unique area.

Dave, tell us a little about your background

Carol works at the University of Michigan as a Lab Manager, and she’s conducted research for the Biotech industry for 30 years. I’m a former Coast Guardsman and I’ve been in sales with an automotive specialty for almost as long. Carol has strong technical aptitude skills while I have an extensive sales and marketing background, which helps us as franchise owners.

Why did you decide to open an Office Evolution franchise?

Part of the reason we’re in this business is because I’ve been a remote employee for 30 years and I understand the need for the Office Evolution business model. Also, Carol and I aren’t ready to retire or stop working any time soon, so we wanted to find a business that we would both enjoy, and I always like the entrepreneurial community.

Another reason we really like Office Evolution is because they offer a built-in mentorship component to their business model. Another franchise might tell you to find a good mentor, but Office Evolution provides the coaches and mentors from the very beginning to help you succeed.

Tell us a little about your Business Center Managers

 Tech Enthusiasts David & Carol WhitingerDeciding Who to hire as your Business Center Manager is the single most important decision that you’ll make as an Office Evolution franchise owner as they are the face of the company, more so than yourself. 

Our Business Center Manager, Andrea Hernandez-Morales, is very friendly and a natural salesperson. Andrea has a great set of organizational skills and sees the value of the business model. 

When we interviewed Andrea, she said she likes the stability of an 8-5 job and doesn’t want to have to travel for work. A lot of things about this job appealed to her and it worked out well because she does a fantastic job and is an important administrative asset for our members and their businesses. 

Tell us a little about your members

Our members are incredibly diverse. We have structural engineers working on important construction projects, a software startup company, business consultants, an advertising agency that does everything from social media management to videos and photography, electrical and mechanical surveyors, a cloud computing support company, a high-tech automotive company, lawyers, IT support people, a LinkedIn consultant/guru, and so many more talented members.

The LinkedIn guru and advertising agent are very cohesive and extroverted people. We enjoy having them around the center because they help bring people together.

What makes your locations unique?

Tech Enthusiasts David & Carol WhitingerAnn Arbor is a tech corridor that’s focused on the automotive and biotech industries. We have the autonomous vehicle research center at the University of Michigan, where they create vehicles that drive themselves. It’s a unique time to be here, in that you’re seeing the rise of these autonomous and electric vehicle companies. We also live in a university town, so it’s a vibrant atmosphere. The whole place has a crazy dynamic.  

As for the location of our office, we’re on the top floor of a three-story building with a lot of windows and natural light.  We’ve received many compliments about the ‘feel’ of our space.

How were you able to see success?

Tech Enthusiasts David & Carol WhitingerWe followed the Office Evolution’s formula to a tee. If anything, we might have expanded on the ideas a little bit, but not much. We figured Mark Hemmeter, the Founder, and CEO of Office Evolution, has a system put together for a reason, so we didn’t question it and it worked quite well.

My other philosophy for success is to keep people walking through the center. It’s hard to give an elevator pitch for this type of business because people can’t imagine what the place looks like. So, we encourage members to have their networking events in our conference rooms to bring people in.

Additionally, we work with local charities and offer to host charity events at our location. We like to be involved in the community and two hours of donated conference room time can go a long way. I think several people are now members because they came to a charity or local networking event. 

Advice for future Office Evolution franchise owners?

Take the time to hire the right Business Center Manager!  Other advice I can give would be, don’t think you understand ahead of time whom your customers are going to be because you really don’t know. Remember, you can’t sell to everybody and some people just aren’t a good fit for the center.  Market your business well and a lot of customers will come to you.

Franchise Spotlight: Living Legacy Laura Kaufman

Laura and John Kaufman just opened their Office Evolution Franchise in Westport, Connecticut last month. They’re excited to get started and have already seen a lot of success in their location. Laura’s dad passed away in October and he was a small business owner. One of his favorite things to do was to connect people. Now that Laura has the chance to connect people at Office Evolution, it makes feel like she’s living out his legacy a little bit.

Tell me a little about your background?

I was a teacher and before that, I was an educational consultant. I also worked at a nonprofit in the education field. I started my own business a few years ago to help people create and maintain organizational systems in homes and offices. However, once Office Evolution came my way, my husband and I thought it was a good fit for my interest and skills.

Why did you decide to open an Office Evolution franchise?

Mostly because I thought it was a really good fit for my skill-set and interest. I feel like I missed my calling a little by being in education and not going the business route. My husband has been in business for 30 years and he agreed I should be in business. He thought I should apply the skills I learned to the business environment.

Tell us a little about your Business Center Managers

She’s amazing! The best thing about Lindy is she has the skills you can’t teach. She has a wonderful way with people and she instantly took ownership of the business. I feel she’s just as invested as I am in making it work. She has a great sense of humor and she understands the nuances of things. She knows when to push in a sales perspective and when laid back.

Tell us a little about your members

Our first few members are life coaches and therapists. We also have a couple of attorneys, a documentary film-maker, and a few people in finance.

What makes your locations unique?

Westport is kind of a small, affluent suburb of New York City. Also our place was completely built out, so it’s brand new. We picked some unique and upgraded decor to add our own touch to the place as well.

How were you able to see success?

So far, it’s really exciting to see everyone in the office on days where it’s busy and our conference rooms, offices, and coworking spaces are all filled. I really love when our members find each other and start to interact and network. My dad passed away in October and he was a small business owner and one of his favorite things was to connect people. Doing that at Office Evolution makes me feel like I’m living out his legacy a little bit.

Advice for future Office Evolution franchise owners?

Just to engage with your community, both your local community where your location is (even if you don’t live there) and also with the Office Evolution Ohana. Use the resources around you, especially your fellow franchisees because they can help you research and make decisions.

Franchise Spotlight: Brand Expander Andy Bean

Office Evolution Andy

As a lover of fishing and golfing, Andy Bean describes himself as a pretty normal guy. However, he modestly forgot to mention how his entrepreneurial spirit lead to his success as a multi-unit franchisee. Find out how Andy expanded his brand in Georgia and currently operates two Office Evolution franchises.

Tell me a little about your background?

I have about 10 years of construction experience and three years of insurance underwriting experience. I was born and raised in Wisconsin and went to school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. About four years ago, I moved down to Georgia for a job.

Why did you decide to open an Office Evolution franchise?

At the time it made a lot of sense. I wanted to get on board with an emerging brand to grow with it – the coworking concept wasn’t as huge of a deal as it is today. Also, the way that traditional real estate transactions are done is not necessary for most companies. It is a long process that requires guarantees or large security deposits that most small companies can’t take on.

Tell us a little about your Business Center Managers

Through an interview process, I was able to find Kris Groover and Samara Johnson for my offices in Alpharetta and Dunwoody, GA. They are very detail oriented and I like people that are a little different from myself to make up for what I lack.

Tell us a little about your members

Office Evolution Alpharettta

Our member base is comprised of mainly small business owners who are in various occupations. They seem to spend a considerable amount of time in the office working on their business. We are happy to give them a professional space where they can concentrate and get all of their important work completed.

What makes your locations unique?

My locations include free parking, walking distance to amenities, all-inclusive pricing, and they’re locally owned and operated. I also like to drop into both locations and be a part of the office community.

How were you able to see success?

Never give up and always be open minded to new things. You don’t always know the right answer and it’s nice to talk to people that can help you find a solution to a problem you’re having.

Advice for future Office Evolution franchise owners?

Hire a great Business Center Manager and empower them.

Franchise Spotlight: StarTrek Actor Cully Fredricksen

The first Vulcan to meet humans in the movie StarTrek: First Contact, Cully Fredricksen, shares his take on how to live long and prosper. His success has a lot to do with the Ohana culture. Find out more about how Cully was able to open his Office Evolution franchise and switch gears from acting to owning a thriving business.

CullyTell me a little about your background?

I had been an actor for 35 years in movies, TV and video games. I just got burnt out on it and it took me away from home too much. I then became a massage therapist and I was just looking for something to do.

My wife Katie and I went to Austria and went hiking with my brother-in-law Mark Hemmeter (Office Evolution CEO) and his wife Lisa. During the trip we started asking questions about opening an Office Evolution and by the end of the trip,  Mark said this is something we could do. Mark and the team were generous to offer us a franchise and we took them up on it.

Why did you decide to open an Office Evolution franchise?

Mill Valley Office Evolution

The number one reason is because I’ve never been in business before. I love the franchise model — no food, no 18 year olds handling cash, and I didn’t have to re-invent the Big Mac. They had systems in place and a great structure and support team that could guide me through the entire process. There was someone to hold my hand and teach me the process. It was simple and doable for a guy that had never been in business before.

What do you like best about being your own BCM?

The thing I like most is the relationships I’ve built over time and the Ohana culture. I have a great group of clients and a wonderful community down here. Many of them I see socially (golfing) and it’s a great culture that has been built.

What makes your location unique?

It’s a little jewel in one of the most beautiful places in California at the very north end of Sausalito and the southernmost point of Mill Valley. We are built right on the water and right off the freeway. Most of my clients live within 5 miles from here, so if they have a parent teacher conference, football game, or dance recital, they’re just 10 minutes away.

How were you able to see success?

Sausalito Office Evolution

Office Evolution understands how to support and train. There are many things that I’m not good at and I rely on the helpdesk and the incredible staff and support team — they’re phenomenal! Also I think what has worked is building the culture down here and treating my clients well.

We’re hyper focused on service and the Ohana. I really drank the Kool-Aid of the Mark Hemmeter vision. Not only is he my brother-in-law, but he’s one of the men I respect most in the world. I admire and trust him and believe in his vision. I’m honored to be part of his vision and his success.

Advice for future Office Evolution franchise owners?

BCM, BCM, BCM. It’s important to have the right BCM to launch it and maintain it and keep the customers satisfied.

Anything you’d like to add?

When I would do validation calls, they often asked, “would you do this again?” — a resounding yes! I’ve learned so much about being a small business owner. I’ve learned how to sell and how to maintain a business. I found resources in myself that I didn’t even know existed. I would absolutely do it again. It’s been great for me and my family!