Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More, a Tampa-based national franchise brand, launches limited-time incentives for veterans and first responders, including 20% discounted initial investment and annual royalties waived for one year. The incentive program will run until September 2023.
Veterans & First Responders Franchise Incentives
The franchise brand has set its sights on Arizona, Florida and Texas for expansion but is offering a nationwide incentive for veterans and first responders. The financial incentives could add up to more than $15,000 for qualified veterans or first responders, depending on the location of the shop.
Big Frog launched the veteran-focused initiative to help veterans and first responders fulfill their dreams of owning a small business. Recently named one of the “Top Low-Cost Franchises” by Entrepreneur Magazine, Big Frog has made it a mission to help entrepreneurs start a profitable small business.
“We have always been committed to the success of our franchise store owners. In fact, during the pandemic, we eliminated royalty payments for 14 months – the equivalent of an $800,000 abatement for our franchisees and invested more than 2,200 hours in business coaching,” says Big Frog Franchise Group President & CEO Tina Bacon-DeFrece. “Our average store sales were up to 19% over 2019 numbers, so we know some of these incentives for veterans can translate into similar success.”
As a brand, Big Frog values veteran service. Bacon-DeFrece grew up in a military family. Her father was a commander in the U.S. Coast Guard, so the military connection runs deep.
Currently, veteran franchise owners account for more than 4% across the Big Frog system. This initiative aims to triple that number.
Several stores also rely heavily on veteran and reserve employees to manage shops or run critical day-to-day store operations. In addition, many shops independently support local veteran causes. With a “veteran-friendly DNA” firmly entrenched in the brand, launching this veteran franchise development initiative is the right move.
“In the franchising world, veterans and first responders make an ideal franchise candidate because they are disciplined and follow systems well,” said Bacon-DeFrece.
Big Frog Franchise Veteran Owners
Ethan Corbin, Big Frog owner in Sioux Falls, S.D., served in the U.S. Air Force for six years and was deployed in 2012 to Oman in the Middle East. Upon his discharge, he began making t-shirts in his basement because he could do small quantities for friends and family members.
“When my dad and I found the Big Frog franchise concept, I was all in because the brand is built on a ‘no minimum’ business model as well as strong community support,” Corbin said. “One t-shirt fundraiser helped an 18-day-old baby struggle to hang onto life and those parents still send me photos of a thriving ‘Toddler Trey.’ If that’s not a reason to be in business, I don’t know what is!”
The giving back benefit also resonates with Steve Haas, owner in Waco, Texas, who is a U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp. veteran.
“We’re very fortunate to be involved in many different aspects of the community including helping a graduating high school senior who was homeless,” said Haas. “We were able to get him his cap and gown and invitations that allowed him to walk the stage with his classmates.”
Another positive aspect of the Big Frog concept for veterans is that, unlike a restaurant or other typical retail shop, the brand is built on a “family-friendly” business model with no nights and limited weekends. This appealed to Mark and Jenni Maniscalco, owners of the Big Frog of New Braunfels, Texas. Mark was an aircraft technician for the U.S. Coast Guard. He was stationed in California, Oregon and Alaska, and did four years of contract work in Afghanistan. When his tour of duty was over, Mark and Jenni decided to stay in the small community of New Braunfels to raise their young children.
“I began researching franchises and Big Frog was the perfect fit because it let me come home at night to the family and actually has time with them on the weekends,” Mark said.