As a parent, Veenu Parkash has been familiar with Lightbridge Academy’s exceptional child care services for years. The brand’s Circle of Care philosophy immediately stood out when she was deciding who should look after her daughter while she and her husband were working during the day. But it wasn’t until tragedy struck that she decided to turn her passion for the brand into a successful business opportunity.
On September 11, 2001, both Parkash and her husband found themselves trapped in New York City after the terrorist attacks. Her husband was forced to stay in the city for the entire day, putting them in a position where they were unable to pick their child up from her Lightbridge Academy center for an extended period of time. That’s when they realized that one of them would need to find another job closer to home so they both didn’t have to go all the way into the city every day. It just so happened that right around the same time, Lightbridge Academy’s founder—Guy Falzarano—was looking to expand.
“It all started as a casual conversation. I simply asked if the brand was interested in venturing out to open new centers with the help of local owners. Within a day, I talked to Guy about opening my own center. And soon, my first Lightbridge Academy location was officially open for business,” said Parkash. “I’m still just as passionate about the brand now as I was twelve years ago when I first started this business. Lightbridge Academy really goes above and beyond to support everyone it works with, from franchise owners like myself to the families it serves. It’s Circle of Care is always evident, even as the company continues to grow.”
Today, Parkash owns two Lightbridge Academy child care centers in the North Brunswick, New Jersey area with plans to open a third location already in the works. But even though she’s been in business with the brand for over a decade, there isn’t a typical or average day on the job.
When Parkash first launched her franchise, she made it a point to be on site in her center five days a week. That gave her the opportunity to interact with parents and build relationships in the community that ultimately established a solid customer base and trustworthy reputation. At the time, her top priority was bringing in the right employees to grow the business with her. From the center’s director to its teachers, Parkash spent about 75 percent of her time making sure that every staff member who set foot in her center shared Lightbridge Academy’s commitment to top quality child care.
Now that she has two centers open for business, Parkash has a team in place to handle day to day operations. While she still goes into her centers four days a week, her main role is to handle the operational side of the business. That includes giving direction to her centers’ directors, being readily available to handle any issues that may come up, delegating local marketing efforts to her team and overseeing the business’ finances.
“Today, the biggest part of my job today as a multi-unit franchisee is handling the financial side of the business. I’m not tied down with small tasks, my team completes those, instead, I spend my time going over payroll, billing and making sure that the revenue we receive is spent the right way, to ensure quality and profit margins.” said Parkash. “I’m also in contact with my center directors every day to make sure that things are going well. I’m always available to step in if there’s a big picture issue that needs to be addressed.”
Franchisees like Parkash are fueling Lightbridge Academy’s rapid growth across the country. With 23 centers currently open for business and another 59 under construction or in development, it’s clear that the brand’s proven business model is capturing the attention of entrepreneurs and customers alike.
“We’re excited to see what’s next for Lightbridge Academy in the months and years to come. Working with passionate franchisees like Veenu has enabled us to grow at a strong rate,” said Brenda Febbo, Lightbridge Academy’s chief marketing officer. “Our franchise owners hire professional center directors to oversee the day to day management functions so they can scope up operationally and focus their energy to what is necessary to build their business. This opens the door for them to grow their individual businesses faster. That model combined with our franchise support system is a recipe for success.”