Lightbridge Academy® Opens 60th Center; On Track To Open 22 More Units in Next 15 Months
The innovative early education and child care franchise brand celebrates the milestone with plans to double its size in the next five years.
ISELIN, N.J. (PRWEB) August 19, 2021 - It’s been a busy 2021 for Lightbridge Academy®, an early education and child care franchise. In addition to opening its 60th center in July, the franchise brand is on track to open 22 new units in the next 15 months.
A Year of Franchise Growth
The brand opened six units this year, with new centers in NYC, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. By the end of 2021, Lightbridge Academy plans to have another six open. Three of the new units are owned by current franchisees who were looking to deepen their investment in the brand.
The expansion comes despite the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic placed in front of the education sector last year. Lightbridge Academy more than maintained its growth momentum; its Holly Springs, North Carolina center opened in September with record-breaking enrollment numbers for the brand, followed by an Apex, North Carolina center that opened within six months of the Holly Springs location.
“I am incredibly proud of what Lightbridge Academy has achieved over the course of this year and last,” said Gigi Schweikert, CEO. “Facing unprecedented challenges that directly impacted the way child care is delivered, our company was able to continue opening new centers and attracting new franchise partners.”
A New Investment Partner Spurs New Growth Goals
The fuel for this accelerated growth plan is an infusion of capital from investment partners Westerly Group (Westerly) & Elmsley Capital (Elmsley). Unlike traditional private equity investors, who invest from funds with limited holding periods, Westerly & Elmsley invest on behalf of a small handful of families without a requirement to sell.
This permanent capital makes them the ideal partners for Lightbridge Academy, whose core commitment to providing a high quality of care and early education in a safe and trusted environment has played a critical role in the lives of thousands of families for the past 24 years. This shift will combine Lightbridge Franchise Company with Jule Holdings, the owner of the corporately operated child care centers, under a new company – Lightbridge Holdings Group.
An Increasing Commitment To Operational Excellence
Lightbridge Academy has continued to invest in franchisee support. This year, it launched Lightbridge Journey®, a new center management software, that provides a 360-degree, centralized place for franchisees, providing increased operational efficiency, reduced operational costs and ultimately improved communication between staff and parents.
During the initial rollout of Lightbridge Journey, the platform proved its value: It saved 28 centers approximately 336 hours of time over 9 months, providing them almost an entire day per week to spend on relationship building with center families.
“It truly has been a year filled with incredible achievements for our brand,” said Joanne Sofia, chief operating officer of the brand. “With the opening of our 60th center as well as the implementation of state-of-the-art technology, we are looking forward to the growth opportunities that lie ahead.”
SOURCE Lightbridge Academy®
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