As he approached retirement after 30 years with the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Greg Wright was looking ahead to how he would transition careers with two daughters in college.
“I have a close friend who is also a franchise broker who helps entrepreneurs connect with franchise brands and lenders,” says Greg. “He was always mentioning franchising to me as an option, but none of the options really stood out as something that interested me.”
When Club Pilates was mentioned, however, Greg’s interest was piqued.
“I wanted a strong franchise brand but also something that was of interest to both me and my daughter, Ayanna, who was studying Marketing and English at the University of Maryland. We wanted to start this journey together, to develop a financial plan to pay off college and start building generational wealth for our family.”
After a “discovery day” trip to California in November 2019, Greg and Ayanna were all-in on becoming Club Pilates franchise owners.
Leaning on Greg’s friend’s advice, they soon began the journey of applying, funding and finally opening Club Pilates Pike Creek in Wilmington, Delaware’s Stoney Creek Plaza next to Goldey-Beacom College.
But there were some bumps in the road to becoming franchise business owners.
“We aren’t an independently wealthy family, so access to capital for the franchise was paramount,” says Greg. “And connecting with Richard Snow and WSFS Bank made the whole process much smoother.”
As WSFS Bank’s Vice President and SBA National Franchise Relationship Manager, Richard Snow knew that one of the biggest barriers to entry for minority entrepreneurs is sufficient access to capital.
“Greg and Ayanna bring an amazing combination of talent, drive, experience and youthful energy to everything they do,” says Snow, who is also the President of the International Franchise Association’s Black Franchise Leadership Council. “As an industry, it is imperative that Black entrepreneurs have the necessary tools and resources at their disposal to succeed.”
At times, those resources were hard to come by.
“The magnitude of the project brought many highs and lows, but Richard continually came through on our behalf,” says Greg. “There were certainly some eye-opening moments during the entire process for me and Ayanna, as we were learning everything about franchising at the same time, together. We are grateful for having a great team at WSFS behind us.”
More than a year and a half after their discovery trip to California, Greg and Ayanna celebrated their Club Pilates Pike Creek grand opening in July 2021, joined by the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce, WSFS Bank and many new fans and customers!
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