On the Road with USGlass

Dream Catchers

Let’s face it, almost no one dreams of growing up one day and running a glass shop. And almost nobody ever wakes up one morning and says, “you know, I’d like to own a glass business.” It’s a business you usually fall into—through family or maybe a want ad you answered. But I spent the weekend with a bunch of people who made a choice, and when they did, they chose glass. They were a trip and they taught me quite the lesson.

I had the privilege of speaking at the biennial Novus Super Session, where owners of Novus franchises come together to learn from each other and from their franchisor. The mostly auto repair and replacement franchisor is defying the economic times and growing at a record-breaking pace, having signed up 18 new franchises already this year.

It was a jam-packed agenda complete with a number of glass heavyweights (see related story on today’s glassBYTEs.com™), but what struck me the most were the attributes of the people who attended. And, in the course of being there, I learned a ton about the entrepreneurial spirit.

Most people in the retailing end of our industry were either born into it or fell into it. Either they grew up in or married into a family that was in the glass business, or they went to work out of school for a company and it stuck. Not so for Novus franchisees. They are converts by choice and not convenience. A number of them told me that had looked at a lot of different franchising possibilities— from selling Italian ice to becoming tree surgeons—and decided on Novus. Most people there were husband-and-wife teams, so they had their young children with them. All showed an intense and overwhelming desire to grow their businesses.

From 8 a.m. til 5 p.m. each day, as beautiful weather beckoned, they stayed in sessions eager for the next one, deadly serious and deadly focused. Even though we were in beautiful surroundings and lovely weather in Hilton Head, S.C., they did not leave, even as late as 5:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon after three full days of session. The franchisees were some of the nicest, most professional, hard-working and inspirational people I’d ever met. And by the end of the meeting, they had motivated me to work harder and do an even better job for them and retailers everywhere in the future.

So congratulations to both Gary and Alan Skidmore, Keith Beveridge and David Osland, along with the rest of the Novus staff for putting together such a powerful event.

Short blog today as I’m a traveling back. Have a good week, because how can a week that starts with March Madness and ends with MLB’s opening day be bad?