Small Business Week Spotlight: 5 Exceptional Franchisees

ByThelma D. Griggs

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A lesser known fact about franchises is that franchisees function as small business owners, and often thrive independently by bringing their own passions and ideas to the business. In honor of National Small Business Week, we’re highlighting outstanding franchisees who have gone above and beyond for their businesses, customers and communities.

At 32 years old, Salem Najjar is the founder and CEO of SERVE Hospitality Group, along with owning and operating 14 Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations in the Midwest. Najjar embodies Tropical Smoothie’s mission to “inspire better,” and takes it to the next level. He puts a positive work environment at the forefront of his values, and regularly mentors employees to encourage growth amongst his staff. As an experienced business owner, Najjar understands the franchising difference, and the value and responsibility in being a franchisee. “We are privileged to have the brand equity and strategic guidance from Tropical Smoothie Cafe as a franchisor, but also to have the flexibility to make business decisions,” says Najjar. “Tropical Smoothie Cafe has a great support center to help guide and advise franchisees, but at the end of the day we are all in charge of our own cafes, responsible for our own employees and ultimately responsible for giving our guests the best possible experiences.” While Najjar is proud of both his businesses’ growth and success, he says the most rewarding aspect of his job is making an impact on his community, and aiding his employees to grow and achieve their goals.

Related: This Family of Tropical Smoothie Cafe Franchisees Is Using Their Business to Build Community

Lisa Chapin, SailTime

A lifelong admirer of sailing herself, Lisa Chapin began her journey with SailTime more than 15 years ago as a SailTime member in Austin, Texas. “That membership gave me the resources and knowledge to sail around the world for three years,” Chapin says. “What I love about sailing is you’re never done learning. It’s a lifelong adventure.” After using the knowledge and skills gained at SailTime, Chapin sailed the world before settling in the Bay Area. When news came that SailTime was looking for a franchisee in San Francisco, she left her job in business development to pursue the position and bring her own passion and experience to the SailTime franchise. More than a decade later, she oversees a fleet of six boats shared by dozens of members, manages an American Sailing Association Sailing School and has a 50 Ton Masters license from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Related: Why This Couple Bought a Franchise After Traveling Around the World


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