AN INSIDE LOOK AT A SUCCESSFUL CHILDCARE FRANCHISE
WHOLE INTERVIEW WITH Bora and Gulchin Pektas, Owners, CEOs of Willowbrae Academy North Vancouver & Evanston Calgary
Q: Why did you choose Willowbrae as a franchise?
A: “We conducted quite a bit of research when we were looking for a childcare business and Willowbrae's name stood out from all other childcare businesses in so many ways. First of all they were very responsive to our calls, answered all our questions, spoke about the financial model, were very transparent and clear in their communications. All these interactions with them helped us truly understand what to expect from the business. We felt that we were joining a very genuine family thriving to be the best childcare provider in Canada.
Moreover, we really like the learning philosophy, curriculum and programs such as KIDFIT Body Break which partnered with Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod, Creative Kids, SEEDS. They are all designed and created by the people who are passionate about early childcare education, healthy childhood and living. We looked at Willowbrae not only from business point of view but also from parent’s view, as parents ourselves we really liked the care and education Willowbrae is providing with a wide range of learning methods; like Montessori, High Scope and Emergent.
Also after meeting with the corporate team it was an easy decision for us to be to be part of Willowbrae family. ”
Q:Do you feel you should have previous experience in the Childcare industry to become a Willowbrae franchisee?
A: “Not necessarily. I believe if you work with the right people who have the right education and experience in the childcare field, you are basically setting up the successful business in the first place. Personally I have a Finance and Economics degree and don’t have any experience in childcare field. Having said that I am a mom and understand and appreciate the parent’s point of view which are the key elements of running a successful childcare center. After deciding to get in to childcare business, I got an ECE (Early Childhood Educator) Assistant certificate just to help me with better understanding the terms used in this field and better communicating with our Director, key staff and most importantly our parents and children. ”
Q: Now that you are OPEN and running - how does the corporate team support your ongoing marketing efforts ?
A:"We have a great support from our corporate team. They are just amazing! They are all professional, eager to help and support us. Although the relationship we have built is very professional, we have also established great friendship with all of them that drives genuine attention and willingness to step the game to come up with the best solution to provide the environment for our children, their families, our teacher and the community.
Everybody in Corporate team is very responsive when we need help. We continue to receive regular detailed marketing reports providing us with valuable insights on where we should focus, what our weaknesses and strengths are to reshape our energy on areas that matter the most.
The state of the art Braeview software is unique in this market and designed to govern all our operations serving as central-command system makes a big difference how we run our daily operations. Braeview has also equipped with very-well designed training materials that simply make all our staff and families life easier."
Q: Anything else you'd like to share about the Willowbrae opportunity with potential franchisees?
A: "Corporate support in early candidate screening and interviewing for key staff including Director’s position is very valuable. Willowbrae has a great system in place to support Franchise owners.
The training for Director is also an important element of the Willowbrae’s success. Our Director in our North Vancouver Academy quoted as: “Willowbrae’s corporate training is second to none”.
Our overall highly positive experience on our first location, the trust and cooperation we have built with corporate office and especially with CEO Wayne Cochrane made us decide to open our second location coming up in Calgary, Alberta in early 2018."