Jay and Malini Bhakta, franchise owners of Primrose School of Gilbert at Santan near Phoenix, Arizona, discuss the benefits of children’s services franchising and how investing in early education reaps more than financial rewards.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Tell us your background and how you decided to become a franchise owner.
Malini Bhakta (MB): Our family was already very familiar with franchising – Jay owns fitness and accounting franchises in the Phoenix area – but we first learned about Primrose through a family member in Kansas who owns a Primrose School there. We were always very impressed with the quality of care in their school and their quality of life as owners, but it never seemed to be the right time to open one ourselves.
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and love working with children. In my past career, I was a medical technologist at the local children’s hospital. Neeta Bhakta, the co-owner of our school, always dreamed of having her own business. When she needed child care for her son, we recommended Primrose. It didn’t take too long for her to also fall in love with the Balanced Learning® approach and warm environment.
After several months of conversations and research with her, we decided to partner on a Primrose of our own. Our school opened in 2016.
FC: How is early education franchising different from your other business ventures?
Jay Bhakta (JB): As Malini mentioned, I own several other franchises in our area, but children’s services franchising is very different from the rest. At Primrose, we are positively impacting the lives of children in a tangible way every single day through early education—that’s not something easily accomplished in any other franchise.
From an operations perspective, there’s a lot to consider when taking care of children. Parents value their children above all else, and we take that very seriously at our school. There are many policies and procedures in place to keep our students in a safe learning environment that are very different from running an accounting franchise or fitness business. For example, all of the equipment and classroom supplies we have are carefully selected for each age group and have a unique purpose to serve when teaching.
But even though this franchise operation is very different from my others, it’s great to still work within a proven franchise model. The Primrose National Support Center staff helped us through every step of opening our school—from training, to researching the right location and hosting our grand opening celebration. Even though we didn’t have prior careers in education, we were trained on the curriculum and coached on how to hire the best teachers and staff.
FC: Aside from your passion for early education, why did you decide to invest in this industry?
JB: The children’s service franchise industry is performing really well right now and is considered a stable investment according to financial analysts and economic developers. Early education franchising is particularly in high demand. Just last year, IBIS World reported that the industry reached a record high of $47.8 billion and is expected to continue to grow at an even faster pace than the overall child services market. We know from experience that parents will always need a nurturing environment for their kids while they’re at work.
MB: And even further, we were drawn to Primrose because of the way that high-quality early education helps the community. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation just released a report called “Workforce of Today, Workforce of Tomorrow” that shares how quality child care helps local communities attract and retain talent, increases workforce productivity and sets up the next generation for future success.
So, providing this service to our area not only helps children grow into future leaders, but it brings the community up as well. We take a lot of pride in owning a Primrose school.