Back to Basics

Starting a franchise in a small town helped these family-focused entrepreneurs bring in big profits.

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Before Pam and Todd Lowery, 44 and 42, respectively, began improving people's lives with their Relax the Back franchise, they were looking for a life change of their own. The couple lived in Southern California, where Todd worked in retail and Pam was a journalist for Extra and KABC in Los Angeles. When the couple started having children, they realized the hectic pace of Southern California was not the lifestyle they wanted for their family. "We were literally seeing each other for maybe an hour and a half a day," says Todd. "We just wanted a change and a better quality of life."

When the Lowerys relocated to Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, they thought of setting up a business in their new hometown. Todd thought highly of Relax the Back, a retail back-care products business he had worked for in California. When he first contacted the franchise, it was a bit hesitant about the Lowerys' interest in entering into a small market, but it gave the go-ahead. Fortunately for Pam and Todd, the risk paid off significantly.

In 2006, the Lowerys opened their doors and soon became the company's first franchisees to break $1 million in first-year sales--a result of their proactive ideas for marketing and customer service. Even before their store opened, the Lowerys built relationships with their community, getting to know the families and reaching out to local physical therapy clinics. Today, their approach to customer service is grounded in providing the right solutions for customers rather than simply selling products.

The Lowerys are looking to reach $1.8 million in 2008 sales and plan to open at least one additional store in the next few years. They continue to help their community however they can, from participating in fundraisers to setting up a scholarship program. "We actually push that in the franchise group," says Todd. "Go out and see what you can do, and it will reap benefits hand over fist.

By Kevin Manahan

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