Last year, the International Franchise Association celebrated the 30th anniversary of the VetFran program, honoring the service and entrepreneurial spirit of Veterans who own and run franchises in thousands of communities across America.
In recognition of the impact that VetFran has made on their lives and career aspirations over the past 30 years, IFA is launching our 30 Heroes for 30 Years campaign.
The first is Marine Corps Veteran, Cheston Syma, who owns 41 Sport Clips franchises across multiple states. His story is like many others. After leaving the military, Cheston worked as a personal trainer but knew that ultimately, he wanted to be a business owner. One of his clients invited him to her Sport Clips and he fell in love with the concept and business model. From there, he worked with corporate headquarters to buy his first two locations in Katy, Texas.
For him to achieve his dream to become a franchise owner after leaving the military, Cheston worked as a security contractor for the Department of State at the U.S. Embassies in Baghdad, Iraq and Kabul, Afghanistan, to pay his loans to achieve his goals. While he was working overseas during a time of war, he was also running both Sport Clips.
In Cheston’s own words:
“I feel every aspect of my military past has helped me in achieving success in my business life. The day to day challenges of business life are not life-threatening so they all seem relatively small to me compared to what we train for in the Marines and particularly in the Infantry. I take each challenge as they come and treat people well throughout the process. Learning leadership traits and leading by example were truly the best transferable skills that helped me grow my business.”
“Franchising has helped me serve again – allowing me to serve my community by providing employment opportunities to my fellow Americans. My company currently employs 300 extraordinary people – all of whom have family and loved ones they support in one way or another. It is truly a wonderful feeling when I hire a young hair stylist and see them grow with the company, start a family, buy their first house and see their dreams come true. If you help enough people find their success it is inevitable you will find yours, too”.
Cheston is an example of how veterans can make their dreams come true through franchising. And now, in addition to his 41 Sport Clips, he’s also purchased the rights to 10 Big Blue Swim Schools and is in the process of purchasing more.
Thanks to the VetFran program, thousands of Veterans are not only realizing their hopes, dreams, and ultimately success through franchise ownership; they are also serving their communities every day.
To learn more about our 30 Heroes for 30 Years, please click here.
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