Military Veteran Serves Community as Pet Franchise

Several American flags are in the background and foreground, but one is in clear focus

Franchising is a great fit for military veterans transitioning back to civilian life. Running a successful franchise requires teamwork, a proactive mindset and a heart for the community – all qualities that many veterans possess. In fact, twelve percent of franchise owners in the U.S. are veterans.

Pet Supplies Plus franchisee Brian Rolf was in the military for 20 years. He retired as a Marine Corps Officer in 2014 before opening his first store.

Road to Franchising

Brian and his father Eric had always wanted to go into business together, so they started researching franchise opportunities. As pet lovers, Pet Supplies Plus piqued their interest. Eric had years of experience in the grocery business, a model similar to pet retail. Through their research, they found that Pet Supplies Plus offered exactly what they wanted in a family-owned business.

“The stores are small enough to maintain a customer service focus but large enough to enjoy a well-developed supply chain and economy of scale so you can pass on the savings to the customer,” Brian said.

Just two years after his retirement from the military, Brian and his father opened their first location in Atlantic Beach, Florida. The duo enjoys operating and expanding their business, but they truly thrive on giving back to the community.

Military Mondays

As a veteran, Brian makes sure to give back to the military community. His store sits next to the Naval Station Mayport, so he often hires former military members and spouses. Additionally, he offers discounts for active and retired military personnel every Monday. 

Brian said that the franchising model is reminiscent of the military’s structure, and his experience with team-building contributes to his efficient hiring and staffing.

“I spend a lot of time training. Once you have employees you trust, you can build a system and decentralize and delegate tasks,” Brian said. “This frees up key leaders to focus on growth and further business health.”

This strategy allows Brian and Eric to focus on community outreach and find new ways to connect with their neighbors.

Community Involvement

The father-and-son team takes active steps to get involved in their community. Brian’s store hosts events to help local animal charities, like adoption fairs and fundraisers. At the Pet Supplies Plus conference, they even conducted a break-out session to teach other franchisees how to establish partnerships with community organizations and make a bigger difference.

The proactive military mindset helps Brian forge stronger connections with staff, neighbors and other franchise owners. Brian and Eric Rolf will keep expanding in the Jacksonville area, with plans to open three additional stores.

To learn more about this community-focused franchise system, get in touch with Pet Supplies Plus franchising here.