After having worked as an employee of Lemon Heaven’s franchisees in Vancouver Island, BC (Canada), Taylor Daly recently bought the business from its previous owners and took over operations last May 22, 2012. Taylor has just returned from Argentina where she was living and working during the Winter (Argentine Summer).
I thoroughly enjoyed doing this interview with Taylor. She has such a refreshing sense of optimism and positivity that is inspiring and infectious. I expect to hear a lot of great things from Taylor and her Lemon Heaven business, and wish her all the best in this exciting new venture.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What attracted you to the Lemon Heaven franchise opportunity?
Taylor Daly (TD): Many things attracted me to the Lemon Heaven franchise opportunity. For starters, the product is something I believe in. It is fresh squeezed, classic lemonade, and it is delicious. I am not just saying that as advertising either, I am one of Lemon Heaven’s biggest fans. It’s a classic beverage and is so perfect for those hot summer days.
Besides loving the product, the idea of being my own boss seemed kinda cool!
I also am going into business with my dad and that was another plus for me. Being able to be at work and also spend quality time with my dad is really something special. He is not old by any means and is in great shape (he’s not going anywhere soon) but I know that in the future, when I look back at pictures from our first years in the business, I will really appreciate these memories as this is something we did together.
FC: What specific steps did you take to assess whether this was the right franchise for you?
TD: I was not shopping around from one franchise to the next to see what was right for me. Lemon Heaven has been in my life for around 6 years, and when the opportunity came knocking on my door, I knew it was a right fit. I am buying the franchise from Wayne and Dianne Carson, they are the parents of my best friend and they are my good friends as well. I was an employee of Wayne and Dianne for many years. (I think I even worked at their very first event when they first bought the franchise). So when Wayne and Dianne said they were selling, I thought about it, really for only 2 days, and made the decision pretty quickly as it just seemed like a great opportunity.
FC: What are some of the things you are most excited about as you start your new business?
TD: Some of the things I am most excited about are: being my own boss; learning A LOT!; working outdoors in the sunshine with happy people (customers know us as we have a great reputation and they are always so happy to see the big yellow tent!); thinking that the sky is the limit; and I would love to see Lemon Heaven become even MORE well known on the Island.
FC: Are there any aspects of the pre-opening process that you find particularly challenging?
TD: There are MANY parts of the pre-opening that I find challenging, but I guess the biggest part is just the learning process. It seems simple, open the lemonade stand and sell lemonade. But there is so much that goes on behind the scenes: get a business number, a GST/HST number, organize the events, order the right amount of product, do the bookkeeping, make sure all the health certificates and insurance are up to date, hire the right number of (trustworthy) employees.
To be honest, I feel a bit overwhelmed but I know it’s just a matter of learning the ropes and I will start to feel more and more confident! Wayne and Dianne have done an amazing job at paving the way (they are the ones that started the franchise on the Island) so I owe a lot to them!
FC: How has your experience been working with the corporate team of Lemon Heaven?
TD: My experience working with the corporate team of Lemon Heaven has been a positive one. I am diving into this quite quickly and I am (at the time of this writing) currently in Vancouver for a formal training from the president himself, Marty Bennett. They have invited me into their Lemon Heaven family and I do feel quite welcome. I know I have a lot of support and they have made it quite clear that I can ask them questions whenever I want. I have their phone numbers and email addresses, and there are also forums where other franchisees can post Q&As.
FC: Do you plan on operating your Lemon Heaven business all year round, or only during peak months? What factors led to this decision?
TD: For now, I am planning on operating my business during peak months as it is my very first season, but I am very interested in growing into a year-round operation. I like the idea that this is a growing franchise and I really do feel that the sky is the limit at this point!
FC: What is your strategy for selecting the right venues and events to participate in?
TD: As I am buying the franchise from Wayne and Dianne, they have done a great deal of work finding out which events are successful and which are not. I will learn from their experience and also try new things as well. I think a big thing for me will be making connections with the event coordinators, getting an idea of what a certain event is like, and then crunch some numbers. I think a lot of it is just going to be trial and error.
FC: Do you plan on hiring employees, or will you be working hands-on, with family members helping you?
TD: I think for my first year, I will be relying a lot on family and friend support. Some events however need between 6 and 8 employees, so I will need to find a few trustworthy employees. Between friends and friends of friends (and Facebook!), that part shouldn’t be too hard.
FC: What are your growth plans for your Lemon Heaven franchise, and how do you plan on achieving your revenue and profit targets?
TD: Vancouver Island is very rich in opportunities for the growth of Lemon Heaven. I am very excited about the possibility of having more than one kiosk and really marketing the product to the people on the Island.
FC: Any words of advice for those looking to invest in a franchise?
TD: If somebody is looking to invest in a franchise and they are not really sure of what company to choose, I would have to tell them to seriously look further into Lemon Heaven. I feel that there is only positive things in the future for Lemon Heaven and the name will become more and more well known over the years. I have worked at a kiosk for years and believe in the product and the company so much that I have decided to invest my savings in this franchise opportunity.