On the cusp of turning 30, Bryan Selden was looking to grow his business.
"Twenty-five years ago I was in the convenience store business," says the Texan. "And back then, if you wanted to look for a business, you looked in the want ads. I saw a blind ad for specialty retail, so I called."
The ad was for a Great American Cookies franchise. In 1987 he bought one location and built a second. Three more followed in Dallas.
When Selden first got into franchising, he rolled up his sleeves and learned the business in the trenches. He went at it alone, opening and closing his first location and generally trying to shoulder as much of the daily work as he could. Adding more locations meant hiring more people, but the work remained all-consuming.
In 1993 he came to a fork in the road of life. With a new baby joining his young son and daughter, Selden felt he could do one of two things extremely well: grow his business or raise his kids. With characteristic zeal, he decided to devote much of the next 10 years to his family. He scaled down to his two original cookie locations and didn't look back. "I take the role of husband and father very seriously," he says.
For 10 years, Selden's primary goal in life was to be the best husband and father he could be. He went to all his children's games and made sure he was there when they needed him. While he certainly continued to work, he put the business world on the back burner.
When his eldest child graduated from high school, and with the younger two more grown-up, Selden decided that maybe it was time to start thinking about growing his franchising business once again. "I jumped back in during 2003," he says. "I talked to my wife and children, and they agreed. And it just took off. The key to this was operational."
He lined up with two key partners--Jeremy Roy and Chuck Schrick. Today he and his partners oversee 35 locations that include 7 franchise concepts. They have an ambitious development agreement in place with Jersey Mike's for Central and East Texas and have plans to grow the other brands as well.
Not everything has been a stellar success for him. The full-service hamburger concept he tried didn't live up to expectations. But he's had a lot more successes than failures along the way.
Today, Selden can look back and smile when he thinks of the time he opened and closed his own cookie franchise. Today he has about 500 employees on the payroll and a multimillion-dollar operation.
Being bigger hasn't changed any of Selden's original ideas about being the best at whatever he does. Five years down the road he and his partners plan to have their current development agreements wrapped and running. But in a world of franchising opportunities, Selden expects that new challenges will appear.
He plans to tackle them all head-on. And if any don't work out, it won't be for lack of him giving any less than 100 percent.
Name: Bryan Selden
Title: Partner/General Partner
Company: Lone Star Restaurants/Dough Rollers
No. of units:
10 Great American Cookie; 7 Smashburger; 7 Wingstop; 3 Pretzelmaker; 2 TCBY; 1 Coffee Beanery; 3 Jersey Mike's Subs open and 2 under construction with a development agreement for 28
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