Foot Solutions | www.footsolutions.com | www.footsolutionsfranchise.com/veteran_program.html |
A Big Career Step |
Published in the March/April 2013 issue of print Search & Employ® |
Veteran-minded businesses like Foot Solutions are helping men and women transition into civilian life all across America. The company is based in Marietta, Georgia, near Atlanta, and has more than 120 locations in the United States, plus 150 locations in 16 other countries. The CEO and founder of Foot Solutions is Raymond J. Margiano, a veteran of the United States Navy. Margiano received the 2010 Vetrepreneur of the Year award from the National Veteran Owned Business Association (NaVOBA). Approximately 15 percent of the company’s corporate employees have served in the military, and 15 current franchisees are veterans.
The company has joined with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer training and franchise opportunities utilizing the GI Bill. The VA has approved the Foot Solutions Veteran Pedorthic Training Facility in Marietta, which offers education and practical experience. The facility can prepare veterans to take the Pedorthic Certification exam and be job-ready within six months. As a certified pedorthist, a veteran can earn between $40,000 and $60,000 a year working in a hospital or lab, employed in a running store, or pursuing other options. Because pedorthics is a relatively new field, there are ample opportunities for employment throughout the United States.
The company offers veterans low franchisee fees, and has designed two franchise options with former military in mind. In addition to traditional retail stores, Foot Solutions has designed a mobile unit that enables a franchisee to work as many days as desired at a variety of locations. Veterans who own Foot Solutions mobile franchises can take their vans to homes, hospitals, and shows. The franchisees can have more control over their schedules, helping them gain a good civilian work/life balance after years in the military. The units are also great for wounded warriors who may need to limit their days on the job.
A Foot Solutions franchise also enables veterans to serve the military community through well-foot checks for diabetics and Medicare’s Therapeutic Shoe Benefit, which applies to shoes for diabetics. In 2011, the VA estimated that one-quarter of the veterans receiving care at VA hospitals suffered from diabetes.
Foot Solutions stores have succeeded throughout the economic downturn, enjoying total sales for the entire system of approximately $65 million annually. Although the stores are small, the corporate headquarters and franchisee stores represent approximately 650 jobs – each store employs three or four people.
Foot Solutions has an aggressive campaign aimed at bringing another 100 veterans into the system over the next two years. The company is also a founding partner of Operation Enduring Opportunity, a campaign launched in 2011 by the International Franchise Association (IFA; www.franchise.org) to put veterans to work in franchising.
Veterans make successful Foot Solutions franchisees because they understand the power of teamwork, which is essential in franchising. They also have invaluable experience in following a plan, and they are smart enough to know when to make the plan better.