Fueled by the belief that a child care center should meet to the needs of both parents and children, Founder and CEO Guy Falzarano set the foundation for the Lightbridge Academy upon which thousands of families have relied.
Lightbridge Academy has made tremendous strides over the past few years, and in 2016 alone, centers opened their doors for business in three states, and new franchise agreements were signed in four mid-Atlantic states. Today, Lightbridge Academy boasts 89 franchises in total. With 26 centers currently operational and many more centers slated to open this year, the brand is positioned for another record-breaking year when it comes to expansion.
That momentum is one of the many reasons that entrepreneurs are jumping to sign on as Lightbridge Academy franchisees—but it’s far from the only thing. Fueling Lightbridge Academy’s growth is a multi-faceted system that’s increasingly becoming an important force in the booming child care industry. Here are the top five reasons why franchisees should invest in Lightbridge Academy.
Lightbridge Academy Provides a Flexible and High Quality of Life to Franchisees
Lightbridge Academy’s commitment to looking after everyone who enters its doors extends beyond the children and parents that the brand serves—it also provides a better quality of life for franchisees.
In addition to caring for the needs of working parents and their children, Lightbridge Academy’s simple business model offers local owners the opportunity to achieve a balance between their personal and professional lives. With a business that doesn’t often involve late nights, weekends or holidays, the brand’s franchisees are able to make time for their friends and families outside of their centers.
The ability to work with a proven brand that also cares for its team members is what ultimately inspired Nicole Hulak and Vita Rizzo to open up their own Lightbridge Academy center in Freehold, New Jersey. The friends were impressed with the brand’s supportive and flexible environment, and knew that they wanted to be a part of it.
Hulak and Rizzo have found that being a part of Lightbridge Academy’s franchise system gives them the opportunity to determine their own schedules. Hulak, a mother of twin boys, also enjoys unparalleled access to her young children, who are enrolled in their Freehold center. And as a busy working mother, having her children close by is a valuable added benefit of owning a Lightbridge Academy center.
“Between me, Nicole and our director, we have created an incredibly flexible schedule. We’ve essentially broken it down into three different shifts, which allows us to be with our families and children outside of Lightbridge Academy when we need to,” said Rizzo.
Lightbridge Academy Boasts Strong Growth Potential and Momentum
Today, there are more than 786,584 child care establishments throughout the country. Together, these businesses support nearly 1.7 million direct jobs and generate more than $48 billion in economic output. Those numbers are only expected to grow in 2017. And along with it, comes a growing demand for even more child care services.
But while many established child care brands are already sold out throughout much of the country, Lightbridge Academy is poised to continue meeting the needs of young families due to widespread territory availability. Franchising since 2011, Lightbridge Academy has made significant headway in expanding over the past six years, including locations throughout New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. In addition to its 13 company owned centers, the brand has sold 89 franchises. A total of 26 centers are open, and by the end of 2017, the brand expects to have nearly 40 centers up and running. And yet, despite this significant development, Lightbridge Academy still has plenty of room for growth as it looks to continue building outward from its home base in Iselin, New Jersey.
Recognizing that the demand for top tier child care services among parents was climbing, Kal Patel started looking into franchise opportunities. That’s when he came across Lightbridge Academy. Patel realized that the brand—especially as an emerging franchise—offered him the unique opportunity to enter on the ground level of a rapidly growing company, so he signed on to open his own center.
“It was important for me to join a brand that wasn’t too big or oversaturated—I needed to know that the opportunity for me to grow as a business owner was there in the long run,” said Kal Patel. “To say that growth potential is still going strong would be an understatement. Even as Lightbridge Academy opens its doors in new markets, there’s still the opportunity to open more centers in different communities.”
Lightbridge Academy is an Innovator in Educational Child Care in a Rapidly Growing Industry
The U.S. child care industry is in the middle of a massive growth spurt—and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. But with that increased demand for child care services comes the need for something much more than just the traditional child care center. In the coming years, parents will require more flexibility and more personalized care for their children—and that’s where Lightbridge Academy comes in.
Today, Lightbridge Academy is quickly becoming a pioneer in the in the booming industry thanks to its unique “Circle of Care” belief—a philosophy that takes into consideration the needs of parents, staff, the local community and owners in order to create a supportive and nurturing learning environment for the child.
“Today’s parents have higher expectations from their child care centers—they want to feel more connected to their children and they need more flexibility in schedules. And our ability to offer this has helped to fueled Lightbridge Academy’s success,” said Falzarano.
What Falzarano is referring to is Lightbridge Academy’s ParentView® internet monitoring system. Every classroom, as well as the multi-purpose room and outdoor learning environment, is equipped with two cameras enabling parents to check in on their child’s progress by logging in to watch a live stream of their children. Lightbridge Academy also offers a state of the art security system and a parent eCommunication app that provides parents with real-time updates, photos and videos.
“We’re seeing Lightbridge Academy grow in more and more marketplaces because more parents are demanding these kind of services, and they’re not finding what they need in smaller companies. That has opened up an in-demand niche, and Lightbridge Academy has thrived by filling it,” Falzarano said.
Lightbridge Academy Offers High Emotional Return on Investment for Franchisees
For every member of the Lightbridge Academy team, the benefits of working in the child care industry are nearly limitless. In addition to being a part of an in-demand and recession-resistant industry, there’s also an unparalleled emotional return on their investment that’s hard to beat. The child care industry has a long history of creating some of the happiest employees, franchisees and executives, and Lightbridge Academy takes that to the next level.
Lightbridge Academy’s commitment to creating a positive work-life integration starts at its corporate office. Its headquarters in New Jersey is located above one if its child care centers so that the team can stay connected to their main mission and purpose: enhancing the lives of children and their families. It’s a value that extends to each and every one of its franchisees and employees, too. And it ultimately creates a career that people are genuinely excited to wake up to every single day.
“We encourage every member of our team to contribute to the big picture as part of the Lightbridge Academy brand. While we all go to work every day with the goal to improve children’s lives and help our franchise owners succeed, we’re equally committed to supporting one another through life’s journey. That’s what makes this such a unique place to work,” said Brenda Febbo, Lightbridge Academy’s chief marketing officer. “Working in the child care industry is like coming up for a breath of fresh air. Every member of our team shares the same passion, which makes our jobs a rewarding experience that also happens to be incredibly fun.”
Lightbridge Academy Offers an Unrivaled Corporate Culture
Lightbridge Academy’s cultural advantage is evident in just about everything the brand does. While many companies often say they have a vision and core values, few actually live, foster and reinforce them on a daily basis. Since 1997, that’s exactly what has made Lightbridge Academy different from the rest—they’re not just in the day care, child care or preschool business. They’re in the business of transforming lives. At the center of Lightbridge Academy’s culture is its Circle of Care philosophy, which puts a strong emphasis on the needs of parents, staff, the local community, owners and children to form a supportive relationship that inspires a nurturing, learning environment.
That Circle of Care philosophy and the core values of the company are what set Lightbridge Academy apart in its industry—and it’s a culture that Falzarano is proud to say flows from the top down and from the bottom up. Which is why, in 2016, the brand was recognized by SmartCEO for its unique corporate culture. Lightbridge Academy was amongst 49 other businesses honored with SmartCEO’s Corporate Culture Award.
“There’s a certain vibe you experience when you enter a Lightbridge Academy—it feels like home. People tell us that all the time. I believe that comes from our core values. You need integrity, you need to be a caring and happy person. These are must-have traits when joining the Lightbridge Academy family,” Falzarano said. “Parents feel good about bringing their children to Lightbridge Academy. We truly are an extension to their family and we take that responsibility seriously. And that has been—and will continue to be—our key to success.”