Franchise Success Story: Lynn & Rick Halpin of Fibrenew Upstate
Fibrenew power couple, Lynn and Rick Halpin came on board as franchise owners back in 2009. From day 1, their business took off (despite the downward economy at the time) and has been growing ever since–a true entrepreneurial success story.
Lynn and Rick had the option to handpick their preferred location, and chose to open up South Carolina’s first-ever Fibrenew in the upstate of South Carolina where Greenville is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. The two happily share the wisdom they’ve picked up along their way, and talk about the benefits and flexibility their investment has afforded them. If you’re considering a franchise of any kind, or even joining the Fibrenew family, we invite you to read on!
Out of university in the 1970s, and armed with a Biology-Chemistry degree, Rick went to work in South Carolina’s booming textile industry. He began his career as a management trainee and worked his way up to VP of North American Operations, supplying products to global markets. The job brought him and the family to many new places; including a stretch of time in beautiful Melbourne, Australia. Years in the field of dyeing and finishing textiles helped him amass ample knowledge of color and color matching. His expertise has been handy, since distinguishing colors is essential to running a successful leather repair business. Though you don’t necessarily need to have 30+ years experience in textiles to run a Fibrenew franchise, it certainly hasn’t hurt!
Lynn, started her professional journey in South Carolina as well, working as an Executive Assistant to the VP of Sales and Marketing for a medical-surgical company. She spent much of her time organizing events and conventions, and stayed busy even when the family moved to Australia. They were raising two children at this point, and she cheerfully jokes about being the family’s “tourism director” while abroad. She put her planning and organizational skills to good use volunteering with the philanthropic American Women’s Association, coordinating major fundraisers for the Royal Children’s Hospital. Eventually, they returned to the U.S., taking up residence in Raleigh, North Carolina. At the time, Lynn was the sole-proprietor of a restaurant-advertising business which she was actively managing up until just recently.
“Everybody will need the services of a company like Fibrenew in their life, probably multiple times.”
– Rick Halpin
Franchise Owner, Fibrenew Upstate
Rick was contemplating his next career step, when a colleague asked if he’d ever considered investing in a franchise. They attended a tradeshow together, and Fibrenew was there. Though Rick looked at other franchises, he kept returning to the Fibrenew business model–as he aptly puts it “Everybody will need the services of a company like Fibrenew in their life, probably multiple times.” One weekend, while Rick was in Calgary for a training session designed for new franchise owners, Lynn was busy back home, working to sell their house. To their delight, it sold immediately after its first showing. It seemed like everything was falling into place, and they took the quick sale of the house as a positive sign about their new direction.
“You can’t be bored, because you’re doing something a little bit different everyday!”
– Lynn Halpin
Franchise Owner, Fibrenew Upstate
A New Outlook on Work
According to Rick, the last eight years have been quite a welcome change of pace, especially after a decade and a half spent continuously travelling for work, and being responsible for manufacturing quality and operational requirements around the clock, seven days a week. Today, in a typical day, Lynn and Rick split up their duties, according to their strengths, and no two days are ever exactly alike. Generally speaking, Rick is the technical, travelling expertise behind the business. You can also find Lynn out in the field or helping out in the shop on any given day. With her background, she excels at running their office, and is very strategic about plotting routes for Rick when he’s out doing estimates and jobs, making sure they use time and gas efficiently. In her words “…that’s the fun of it…you can’t be bored because you’re doing something a little bit different everyday!”
Keeping Up With Changing Times, and Finding a Niche
When asked about how things have changed since they first started out, the topic of digital marketing and advertising quickly comes up. Over the years, search-optimized marketing has become central to raising brand awareness. Rick and Lynn are pleased to have reached a point where their business effectively sells itself, whether that’s by being found readily online for the most relevant keywords, or harnessing the power of social proof, like Google and Yelp Reviews.
Looking back over the years, the couple has gone from pitching their services to car dealerships, to servicing multi-million dollar homes and private airlines. Since successfully establishing themselves in the upper-end of the market, it’s been a win-win for them and their customers. Afterall, premium furniture, not only can be repaired, but really should be restored rather than replaced. They fondly recall an especially loyal customer who was so impressed with their work, that she made a point of having her furniture repaired by them, before moving off to Ohio.
Talking with the two of them, it’s clear that they love the flexibility of the business. Whether it’s taking a weekday afternoon to enjoy some boating on a quiet day with no one else around, or deciding to do work on a Saturday morning in the backyard, poolside with a cup of coffee, it’s been a very rewarding move on their part. Nearly a decade after they first became ‘Fibre-newers’ their passion for the work is clearly going strong. Rick explains “It blows your mind when you start thinking about the different work, and the different customers that we satisfy. We really add value to their belongings for extended periods of time…” It’s that feeling when you meet a customer and they say, ‘Oh, you did my couch five years ago and it still looks great!’ – there’s a lot of gratification in this business.”
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