Taking Care of People and Dogs on Veterans' Agenda
Mike Soules went to work for Jiffy Lube after leaving the U.S. Air Force, a natural fit for the aircraft mechanic, and rose to the manager’s level. When the owner decided to sell last year, Soules took the plunge to purchase the franchise in Lewes, Delaware.
“It seemed like the right thing to do, to take care of our people,” Soules says. Like many small-business transactions, this was financed by a loan from the seller, with a 4 percent interest rate and a seven-year payoff schedule.
More stories are in the June/July print edition, in coverage about how franchisors can attract veterans as business owners and how veterans can best sort the options.
Included is a story about Nicole Odom, pictured, a Dogtopia franchisee and military veteran who participates in a campaign to generate support for military dogs and their handlers stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas. Dogtopia has since created a permanent non-profit arm to the company, known as K-9 Support Inc.
This year, proceeds from the July 21 companywide dog wash will go to Veterans Moving Forward, whose mission is to provide service dogs to veterans with physical and mental health challenges.
As for Soules at Jiffy Lube, he believes customer service and teamwork are No. 1. “If I don’t have the right people then the customers will never come back. We’ve got generations coming here now,” Soules says.
For returning military veterans, he advises three things.
“Do your homework. Especially those guys that are coming back now, they’ve got a lot of things on their mind,” Soules says.
“Do something with your passion,” he continues. “That way you can really, really enjoy it. If you’re enjoying it, you’re not even going to work.”
“Then don’t be afraid of support groups, the Small Business Administration—there’s so many places willing to help that the vet gets a good shake of it,” he says.
He closes with this manifesto: “Take the plunge.”
Read more about Veterans in franchising in our June/July issue.