For two decades, Vince Stoakley was a globetrotter, traveling the world as a member of the U.S. Army. After retiring from the Army in 2012, Stoakley (shown above) needed to find a calling that was not just a job, but a career, and one that would let him expand his roots. He found that out when he opened his Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchise where he serves the Houston area with home inspection services for residential buildings of all kinds. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is ranked the No. 1 home inspection franchise in North America by Entrepreneur Magazine. Another Pillar To Post Home Inspector opened in April of 2015. Lamar Wheeler served for 20 years in the Army, moved to San Antonio this year to open his home inspection business which he will pass on to his daughter and son-in-law.
Sean Collins, a U.S. Army veteran of 20 years, recently opened his CertaPro Painters business in Fayetteville, Georgia serving many areas there including Stockbridge, Jonesboro, McDonough, Hampton, Morrow and Ellenwood. CertaPro Painters is another company recently rated among North America’s top franchises on Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2015 Franchise 500 listing. With two decades of military experience under his belt, Collins has no shortage of grace under pressure. Collins served two tours in Iraq, in addition to time served in Korea, Germany, Texas, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Kansas and South Carolina; upon his retirement, Collins had achieved the rank of Major. When deciding to follow his dream of being his own boss, Collins explained, he was prepared for any eventual struggles. “There will always be challenges with starting a business. You’re learning every day; when you tackle one obstacle, there are two more awaiting your presence. It’s not about the number or the most challenging of the challenges, but how you react when presented with them. My military experience more than prepared me for that.”
Army veteran Barry Ellis and Active Duty Army Sergeant First Class Mazie Ellis are the new owners of Window Genie of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Window Genie is a national home service franchise specializing in residential and light commercial window cleaning, window tinting, pressure washing, gutter cleaning and more. Barry retired after 20 years of service in the army and has since been working in IT. Mazie is approaching her 20 year milestone in November and plans to retire from the military. Mazie said, “For the past year I’ve been planning on my next move after 20 good years of service to my country. Owning our own business has been a dream of ours.”
While mobile franchises do seem ideal for former members of the military who like the freedom of climbing in their own vehicles and being in charge of their own daily work schedules there are other opportunities in franchising as well.
Karen Laban, an 8-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, worked as a certified public accountant for a land development and residential construction company for 13 years in Pennsylvania following her discharge. In addition, Laban partnered with her husband to open a continuing education home study business called Laban’s Addiction Specific Training. But Laban was inspired to do something new and, when presented with the opportunity to open her own The Spice & Tea Exchange in downtown West Monroe, Louisiana, knew she found the perfect opportunity to do that.
“Since 2010 there has been consistent growth in both the specialty food and tea industries, which initially inspired our interest in The Spice & Tea Exchange® as a business opportunity,” says Laban. “From the spices and teas we sell to the design of the store itself, everything about The Spice & Tea Exchange® screams Antique Alley. It really is a perfect fit for the West Monroe community.”