Back in 2012, the Affordable Homes of South Texas (AHSTI) knew it was in trouble. As a non-profit organization, it was running low on funds. There was no way they could provide for the increasing demand of new homes in its area.
Rather than let his organization go under, director Bobby Calvillo came up with a creative solution. He convinced the board of directors that the solution to their financial problems was in franchise. They purchased a Blimpie.
As he stated in an interview with QSR Magazine:
“As a non-profit social enterprise, we were looking for a business opportunity with minimal startup costs and up-front investment. Franchising seemed the logical choice and it also offered individual and corporate support that could guide us through the startup and general operations of the business. Running a franchise and a non-profit are not all that different from each other, they both are run as a business, but the franchise posed some unique challenges that are new to us.”
The franchise is now nearing its third year, thanks to the support of local citizens and the popularity of the well-known fast-food place. It’s already gotten over the ‘hump’ of the first year, and has already begun turning a profit.
The idea blossomed when Calvillo, who has worked for AHSTI for 17 years, watched a group of nurses scramble for lunch.
After talking to local students about whether they would like a sub-shop in the area as a healthy food option, Calvillo found that the answer was an overwhelming ‘yes’.
Planning took over a year, and they had to negotiate with Blimpie on various requirements and agreements, since at the end of the day, the owner of the franchise location us ultimately a non-profit organization.
It took tons of hard work, but they finally opened, touting the tag-line “Great food for a great cause.”
According to Calvillo, one of the most important parts of running his franchise is staffing. Each employee must meet the standards of the AHSTI as well as those needed to work in the sub shop. They needed to combine a passion for working along with great experience when it came to management.
The store also offers jobs to some of the clients that the organization assists’ many of which have very little job experience. “It’s a great first step for some who have no education or haven’t worked outside the home,” says Alan Crites, an area developer for Blimpie.