After spending more than a decade in the franchising industry, Teena Patel found her next big adventure with Lightbridge Academy.
Teena Patel is no stranger to the world of franchising—in fact, it’s been an important part in her family’s life from one generation to the next.
While attending school at the University of Delaware, Patel majored in English. After graduating, she landed what, at the time, was her dream job as the editor of a local newspaper. But then, seemingly overnight, the newspaper industry began experiencing a rapid decline that has continued to this day. Circulation numbers declined and ad revenues dropped. Suddenly, Patel was on the hunt for a new, exciting and profitable way to reinvent herself and her career. That’s when she turned to an industry that she has been familiar with ever since she was a kid.
“At the time, I was already well-versed in business—especially franchising. Growing up, my father had invested in a few franchises of his own, and I was always interested in how the business model itself gave people the opportunity to live out their dreams of entrepreneurship. It seemed like the right timing to finally take that leap—both for myself and for the greater good of my family,” Patel said.
Patel decided to invest in Edible Arrangements. She found a lot of success with the brand, and over the years, she went from having a single location to five. For 10 years she ran her multi-unit operation alongside her husband. But everything changed when she had a daughter.
“After my daughter was born, I quickly realized the challenges that come with being a working mother. I was still overseeing five Edible Arrangements locations at the time, and it became increasingly difficult to give my daughter the time and care that she deserved, while also making sure my businesses were operating at a top level,” Patel said. “That’s when I discovered the immense value of really good child care centers. Finding a place that you can truly trust with your child isn’t easy—but when you do find it, it creates this invaluable peace of mind.”
That’s when Patel had her “a-ha” moment—what if she could bring that kind of child care experience to her own community? Armed with more than a decade of franchising experience, Patel started to explore her options. As a resident of Freehold, New Jersey, Lightbridge Academy was a brand that she encountered time and time again—its headquarters in Iselin is only a short 28 miles away.
“I decided to attend a Discovery Day at Lightbridge Academy, and I was immediately taken by how different and refreshing they were. Everything from their franchise operations to their core values just makes you feel like you belong the moment you step through the doors,” Patel said. “The owners are down to earth. But they’re also passionate about what they do. They aren’t just in the business of taking care of kids—they’re dedicated to really creating a better experience in the child care space.”
But what really sold Patel on Lightbridge Academy was its dedication to meeting the needs of working parents. Lightbridge Academy goes above and beyond to ensure that parents can be at ease whenever their child is being cared for at one of the brand’s centers. Backed by its Circle of Care philosophy, which takes the needs of parents, staff members and franchise owners into consideration in order to create a supportive and safe education environment for every child that walks through its doors, the brand is on the cutting edge of the increasingly important—and in demand—child care industry.
“When parents are stressed, it has an effect on their children. Lightbridge Academy is unique in that it tailors its programs and services to remove as much of that stress as possible and make their lives easier,” Patel added.
Now, Patel is proud to say that she’s gearing up to open her first Lightbridge Academy center in Eatontown, New Jersey—helping to further solidify the brand’s ever-growing footprint throughout its home state. Aiming for a grand opening in early April, Patel is eager to bring the same Circle of Care philosophy that she fell in love with to a new community in Northeastern New Jersey.
“For dual income working families—which are the norm these days—there are a lot of factors at play that go into providing the best possible care and education for their children,” Patel said. “Everything we offer at Lightbridge Academy is designed to help the pieces fit perfectly into place in order to create The Solution for Working Parents®.”