October 09, 2009 // Franchising.com // BALTIMORE, MD -- Sylvan Learning, Inc., North America's most recognized provider of supplemental education, is rapidly expanding its national footprint with the announcement that Chicago, IL is now open for franchise sales and will be a priority growth market for Sylvan over the next several years. Sylvan Learning is seeking entrepreneurs, including military veterans, to develop 18 new centers in the region, as well as purchase three of its existing corporate-owned centers in Schaumburg, Wheaton and Frankfort.
To share information about franchising opportunities in Chicago, Sylvan Learning is hosting a franchising seminar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Forum at RecruitMilitary's Opportunity Expo (725 West Roosevelt Road) on Oct. 15, 2009 at 10 a.m. Open to UIC Forum attendees and all entrepreneurs in the Chicago area, the seminar will share why the supplemental education industry is growing and how entrepreneurs can join the expanding network of Sylvan franchisees. To register for the event and learn more, contact Broc Silberzahn at 800-627-4276, ext. 8768.
Sylvan participates in the VetFran Program, which offers discounts to qualifying veterans, and encourages veterans to join the Sylvan Learning network of franchisees. In fact, one of Sylvan's longtime franchisees is a military veteran. Bob Taffet and his wife, Linda, purchased a center in 1986 and when he retired from the Air Force in 1989 as a colonel, he joined her in operating the Montgomery, Alabama center. Linda brought years of education and teaching experience, and Bob had the organizational and management skills he obtained after 23 years as an officer and fighter pilot in the military. The retired colonel recommends Sylvan as a career for retired military personnel.
"It's a fun business, but above all, you see the results of your efforts with the kids you help. There's nothing better than a parent saying, 'God bless you' and telling you that you've turned their child's life around," said Taffet. "Military veterans are well suited for franchising, because they tend to be disciplined, organized, devoted, mission-oriented and have the work ethic necessary to be successful."
Sylvan has served more than two million students since 1979. In 2008, Sylvan Learning was ranked number 57 in Franchise Times magazine's "Top 200 Systems" based on total number of units and has been ranked 24 times in Entrepreneur magazine's "Franchise 500 Ranking," the industry's premier franchise ranking. Most recently, Sylvan was named one of the "25 Top Franchises for Hispanic American ownership" by Poder Enterprise magazine, and was ranked in Bond's "Top 100 Franchises."
"To fuel growth in and around Chicago, Sylvan Learning is actively seeking qualified franchisees who possess an entrepreneurial spirit, have a passion for the communities they will serve, and are interested in helping children develop the skills, habits and attitudes that lead to lifelong success," said Curt Hapward, Sylvan Learning's vice president of franchising.
Sylvan Learning currently operates approximately 1,100 centers worldwide in 49 states and six provinces in Canada, as well as 10 countries. With unprecedented franchise sales growth of more than 150 percent in 2008, Sylvan Learning is now seeking franchisee candidates in Chicago to be a part of a national expansion plan to increase its U.S. presence over time. Currently, there are 40 Sylvan Learning centers operating throughout Illinois. Including Schaumburg, Wheaton, and Frankfort, there are 28 centers located in Northeast Illinois.
"In an economy where unemployment is on the rise, we are finding that the supplemental education market is surprisingly resilient, and as a result, there has been increased interest from entrepreneurs who are looking to join the Sylvan Learning family," said Hapward. "We will be looking for our new and existing franchisees to continue to satisfy a growing demand in markets like Chicago for high quality, individualized supplemental education."
One Chicago entrepreneur, Amy Jorgensen, joined Sylvan Learning's growing network of franchisees in 1999 when she found that practicing law and starting a family with her husband was difficult to balance. Over the past decade, she has expanded from one Sylvan Learning center to seven centers located throughout the Greater Chicago area. She has purchased corporate-owned centers, as well as opened new centers, and plans to open another center in the Chicago area by the end of the year.
"I would strongly recommend Sylvan as a business opportunity. Sylvan Learning not only offers exceptional programs, they provide the support and training needed to be a successful businessperson," said Jorgensen. "Sylvan is a mature, well-established company, which gives you security, and also is progressive and innovative, which gives you limitless possibilities for future growth."
There are additional opportunities in hundreds of communities across the U.S. for prospective franchisees to purchase a territory and start their own Sylvan Learning center. Sylvan franchisees benefit from a $40 million advertising and marketing program designed to drive enrollment and conversion. In addition, all franchisees experience an unparalleled training program that prepares them, with or without educational experience, with the tools they need to succeed as business owners.
Entrepreneurs interested in exploring opportunities in supplemental education franchising may contact Broc Silberzahn, Sylvan Learning's director of franchise development, at 800-627-4276, ext. 8768.
Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of in-center, online and at home tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels. With 30 years of experience and approximately 1,100 centers located throughout North America and abroad, Sylvan's proven process and personalized instructional methods have inspired more than two million students to discover the joy of learning. Sylvan's trained and certified instructors provide individual instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams. Sylvan helps transform unique kids into uniquely inspired learners with the skills to do better in school and the confidence to do better in everything else.