America hasn’t always supported its veterans — the protests that occurred in the wake of the Vietnam War are proof enough of that. However, within the last generation or so, and specifically after the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the people of this country have stepped up to the plate when it comes to supporting our veterans, both those currently fighting abroad and those returning home.
One of the many ways that people can help our veterans is by supporting or buying from veteran-owned companies. Some of the best ways to do that are:
- Giving preference to a veteran’s business. If you need to hire someone to do a task and one of the people on the list is a veteran, checking out the veteran’s company before other options not only to acknowledge and show gratitude for their service but also to recognize the high standards that veteran-owned companies maintain.
- Giving preference to veteran-owned companies for contracts. If you’re a business owner who subcontracts work, consider going with a veteran-owned company before shopping around for other options. You can almost always trust a veteran-owned business to deliver a quality product promptly.
On the whole, though, supporting veterans is good for business — whether it’s a company contract or just work on a house. People want to support businesses that are acknowledged supporters of veterans and their interests.
As a consumer, you too can support the veterans in your life by purchasing from a multitude of veteran-owned companies across the country. Here’s just a small list of veteran-owned or veteran-friendly companies whose profits go toward non-profit organizations designed to help veterans get back on their feet.
Love of Country. Founded by Air Force medic Joe Knoetgen, Love of Country is a brand new (founded less than a year ago) clothing company with one goal in mind: to supply Americans with clothing that shows their support for the nation’s firemen, police, EMTs and military. All of the clothing sold by Love of Country is made exclusively in the United States from start to finish. The garments are manufactured in two places here in the US — one factory in California and one in New York — and then printed, packaged and sold out of New York.
As part of their goal, Love of Country offers clothing that is eco-friendly, using a new technology called RPET to create soft fiber weaves from plastics that would otherwise be discarded. If you’d like to take a look at Love of Country’s menswear and women’s apparel, you can view the entire lineup on their website.
BrokenGear. A veteran-owned and veteran-run clothing company, BrokenGear’s mission is to put as many veterans and service-disabled veterans to work as possible. Whether it’s in production, sales, marketing or distribution, BrokenGear aims to support veterans by giving them jobs in a culture and with a camaraderie that they understand.
The company also runs TEAM BROKEN GEAR, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting service-disabled veterans involved in sports. To take a look at some of the apparel BrokenGear sells, take a look at their shop.
Heroes Vodka. Founded in 2009 by Marine Corps veteran Travis McVey, Heroes Vodka was first bottled on 11.11.11 — Veteran’s Day, 2011, a day that occurs only once every century. Heroes Vodka’s mission is to deliver great taste and exceptional value to the consumer, while at the same time honoring veterans and other service organizations, such as firefighters and policemen, through charitable contributions and donations.
A portion of every Heroes Vodka purchase goes to support AMVETs, the American Veterans organization and other veterans organizations, such as Operation StandDown, to develop assistance programs for active duty military, veterans, retired military and their families. Since its inception, Heroes Vodka has given away more than $60,000 in donations to various veterans organizations.
Clif Bar. Founded in 1990 by Gary Erickson, Clif Bar strives to put out an appetizing snack and energy bar that everyone wants to eat. Not only does Clif Bar manufacture all of its goods in the United States, but it also supports many charities such as the Farmer Veteran Coalition, which works with veterans in the farming and food communities to educate them on farming and better connect them to agricultural opportunities in their community.
Clif Bar also runs some of its charitable initiatives, such as Project 2080 (so named because a full-time employee works 2,080 hours in a year) and the Clif Bar Family Foundation, which strives to give back to non-profits in the community.
Many companies strive to help and support veterans. This desire to help doesn’t just extend to single companies like Clif Bar, either — there are dozens of franchises across the United States that make it a priority to aid veterans as best they can, even if it’s in small ways, such as offering a discount.
One of the many ways that franchises can help veterans is by partnering with VetFran, an international franchising organization that’s dedicated to providing access to opportunities in franchising to veterans and their spouses. VetFran has an extensive list of partners, including:
- The UPS Store
- Marriott Hotels
- Edible Arrangements
In addition to those VetFran partners and sponsors, many companies, such as Cruise One, offer help for veterans looking to get into franchising. Of its 1,010 overall locations, 323 of Cruise One’s franchises are owned by veterans. The cruise company offers a 20 percent franchise fee discount, as well as deferred costs and management help for reservists.
Other companies that offer help and support for veterans that are looking to get into franchising include:
Color-Glo International. A restoration and repair service, Color-Glo International specializes in the restoration and repair of common fabrics such as cloth, vinyl, velour and leather. Color-Glo specifically caters to the automotive, aircraft, furniture and marine markets, striving to produce the correct results and best value every time.
First formally incorporated in 1975, Color-Glo International has been franchising since 1982. Since that time, Color-Glo has grown to over 80 locations by 2015, 15 of which are owned by veterans. As part of their mission to help veterans get into franchising, Color-Glo offers a 10 percent franchise fee discount, a 10 percent start-up cost discount and help for reservists in the form of management assistance.
Boulder Designs. Headquartered in Waco, Texas, Boulder Designs (and its sister service company, Boulder Magic) offer custom boulders of any shape or size for use in commercial signage, landscaping and many other applications.
Boulder Designs has been franchising since 2008 and currently there are nearly 50 Boulder Designs representatives and locations, serving customers from Arizona in the south all the way to Vermont in the Northeast. The company offers a variety of perks to help veterans that are interested in franchising with Boulder Designs, including a $2500 franchise fee discount, a 25 percent royalty discount and management assistance for reservists.
ACFN. First founded in 1996, ACFN provides ATM and ATM-based franchise services to hotels, casinos, bars and other travel and entertainment-based businesses. Since it began franchising in 2003, ACFN has grown to more than 260 locations that together own and operate more than 2,500 ATMs across the United States and Canada.
As a way to help veterans get involved in franchising with them, ACFN offers a $1000 franchise fee discount as well as a waiver of all royalty fees.
Right At Home. Founded in Omaha, Nebraska in 1995 by former hospital administrator Allen Hager, Right At Home is a care facility designed for patients who need assistance living at home but don’t necessary need or want an institutional setting. Right At Home’s mission is to improve the quality of life of those that it serves and make a positive impact on the community and the families that it encompasses.
When founder Allen Hager began branching out into the franchising of the company in 2000, he first talked to dozens of families to understand the challenges they faced in providing care to their loved ones and what kind of care would help most. Then, armed with that information, he became a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) so that he could experience firsthand the needs of those who lived at home, yet still needed a little professional assistance.
As Right At Home branched out into different areas of the country, Allen began looking for people who shared his vision and his zeal for caring for those people who needed assistance in the community. Now Right At Home has over 300 locations, serving clients in such diverse places as Brazil, Iceland, the UK and China, as well as customers in the US and Canada.
To help veterans who are interested in getting started in the home care industry and franchising with Right At Home, the company offers a 10 percent franchise fee discount.
Transworld Business Advisors. Started in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1979, by Andy Cagnetta, Transworld Business Advisors (TBA) is a business brokerage firm that helps buyers and sellers of commercial businesses find each other in what is becoming an increasingly-private market.
TBA offers a unique business model, focusing on three core areas: business brokerage, franchise consulting and franchise development.
TBA represents more than 300 franchises in varying industries and working at varying investment levels, with the goal being to match clients to franchise concepts that best meet their criteria. Franchise development is another take on this – some clients already have ideas or businesses that they’ve built and would like to grow that business through franchising opportunities, which TBA helps them find.
Finally, possibly the largest portion of TBA’s business model is business brokerage — that is, acting as an intermediary in the buying and selling of private businesses. TBA prides itself and its franchise employees on creating lasting relationships with companies so that they know that when it comes time to buy or sell a part of their business, they’re in good hands.
Since it began franchising in 1987, Transworld Business Advisors has grown to over 415 locations across the US. In order to help veterans that might be interested in getting involved in the world of business brokerage, TBA offers many perks, including a 10 to 50 percent franchise fee discount and a 10 percent start-up fee discount.
Signal 88 Security. First founded in 2003, Signal 88 Security strives to provide a full suite of world-class security options and services for a variety of customers, ranging from residential to institutional and commercial, including retail.
Through a host of custom security services, including roving vehicle patrols and security consultations, Signal 88 Security hopes to provide its customers with the peace of mind to pursue their passions in life without worry. Some of the services Signal 88 Security offers include:
- Vehicle patrol services
- Response to alarms and disturbances
- Maintenance assessments
- Facilities checks
No matter which services you choose, Signal 88 Security is dedicated to providing custom, quality security services to increase your peace of mind. Since it began franchising in 2008, Signal 88 Security has grown to 123 locations, 75 of which are veteran-owned. As a way to get more veterans involved in franchising with them, Signal 88 offers a $4500 franchise fee discount as a way to help new franchise owners get involved in the business.
The list of companies above is just a small number of the nearly dozens that offer some franchise fee discount, royalty discount, start-up discount or management assistance to veterans looking to get involved with franchising. The number of companies looking for veterans to join on in their franchising efforts is huge, and only growing as the years go by – in 2017 alone, there were more than 40 different franchises looking for veterans to get involved with them, according to the Military Times.
What to Do Next?
If, like many veterans, you’re looking to follow the American Dream and start up your own business, working for yourself at a business or in an industry that you like, consider looking into a franchising opportunity with a company or in an industry that interests you.
The number and type of businesses that are looking for veterans to get involved in one of their franchising opportunities are truly staggering – everything from travel to repair/maintenance, food services, retail and everything in between.
And it’s not just small companies, either – giants like McDonald’s, The UPS Store, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and even retail chains like Batteries Plus are looking for and to veterans as valued members of the community with whom they can build and grow a franchise opportunity that has the possibility and promise to benefit the whole community.
Looking to Develop After Service? Look to Vista College
Vista College is a military-friendly college that seeks to honor those who have served our country and provide them with the highest-quality educational experiences possible — including degrees in business, healthcare, IT and the trades. For more information about Vista College, check out our website or give us a call at 877-316-0246. Even if you’re not looking to further your education right away, Vista College strives to offer resources to veterans to give military members and their families the insight they need to succeed – check out our blog and other resources for more information.