MU Profile: Cole Taylor Weber, at 25, Is a 6-Unit Pet Supplies Plus Franchisee (Part 1)
Name: Cole Taylor Weber
Company: Pet Supplies Plus
No. of units: 6
Family: Mom Heather, dad Johnny (divorced), brother Tanner
Years in franchising: 4
Years in current position: 2
At just 25, Cole Weber is already a multi-unit franchisee whose six Pet Supplies Plus stores are generating an annual revenue topping $11 million.
Weber had his first exposure to Pet Supplies Plus in college when he worked at one of their stores. “I learned the ins and outs of the pet industry, from stocking shelves, to finance, to eventually operating the location,” he says.
Today, barely out of college, he now owns and operates the store in Rogers, Arkansas, where he got his start. His other locations are in Tennessee, Florida, and Oklahoma, and he’s looking for more.
Weber says it was a little awkward when he took over his first store while finishing up his senior year in college. “A lot of my employees were older than me, and I had to earn their respect and trust. Then I could start pushing the business in the right direction,” he remembers.
Weber says he was fortunate to have grown up with a father in the franchise world, who built up a portfolio of 58 Sport Clips. “I got early exposure to the business,” he says. Perhaps that’s why one of his goals is to have three or four different multi-unit franchise groups.
“Owning a pet is one of the most rewarding experiences people can have, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to help people with that part of their lives,” he says. “I have the chance to take an active role in each community we have opened through pet adoptions, working with service organizations, and anything we can do to enhance the lives of our neighbors.”
First job: I was 16, and it was cleaning a local entrepreneur’s shopping center every morning.
Formative influences/events: My dad and my mentors.
Key accomplishments: I think running a business of 100 employees and keeping everyone happy is a big accomplishment.
Biggest current challenge: Ramping up new stores.
Next big goal: Earning a $1 million profit off the stores I run.
First turning point in your career: When I took over our business, we would have our big orders hit every Friday and constantly be in the red. On the first Friday that we weren’t, I knew I was turning things around. The coffee tasted a little better that morning.
Best business decision: Investing heavily in my key people.
Hardest lesson learned: Not to take things personally. I am an emotional person because I care about my people, but I sometimes must remind myself that I must make tough business decisions.
Work week: Sunday is the only day I really try to take off. We like to say we get up every day and hit curveballs.
Exercise/workout: I try to get in the gym a couple times a week. I walk and run a lot with my dog Bailey. My favorite exercise is playing basketball.
Best advice you ever got: Be your employee’s biggest cheerleaders!
What’s your passion in business? The people. I have the opportunity every day to make a difference in people. I always say if everyone is happy inside the four walls – employees, co-workers, and the pets coming in – we will win the game!
How do you balance life and work? At times it can be tough. This is something I need to work on more because I am in such a grind mindset.
Guilty pleasure: Cheesecake.
Favorite book: Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden.
Favorite movie: “The Sandlot.”
What do most people not know about you? I cannot stand an actual tomato but love the things made from tomatoes. I think it is the texture.
Pet peeve: Cars with loud pipes.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Professional baseball player.
Last vacation: Hawaii for my mom’s wedding.
Person I’d most like to have lunch with: Matthew McConaughey. I love his outlook on life.
How did you get into franchising at such a young age? I am blessed to have a father and business partner who has been in the franchising world for over 15 years and brought me on at an early age attending franchise and real estate shows.
Was becoming a franchise something, you’d planned on? Yes. I always wanted to be a multi-unit operator of some sort.
Did you have a mentor or inspiration for getting into franchising? Yes, my dad for sure. I grew up watching him grow to 58 Sport Clips locations.
What jobs, skills, and experience have helped you operate a franchise business? I think being in sports my whole life taught me a lot about discipline, work ethic, motivation, and teamwork. My favorite part of running a business is that, in a way, it is just like running a sports team. My dad was always telling me about the challenges he faced over the years, which was definitely very helpful as curveballs started to come my way when I started my career. I also come from a family that always taught me to respect everyone if you want respect. That has always stuck with me.
What kinds of obstacles did you face in franchising at such a young age? Gaining the trust and respect of team members early on.
How would you describe your generation? Lazy. I think a lot of people in my generation are always looking for the easiest way of doing things. I am okay with that because I know what I need to do to be successful.
Do you see franchising as a stepping-stone or a career for you? Career.
Next time: How Weber manages his business, his take on the bottom line, and future plans.
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