Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first place that Troy Williamson was a football star was at Silver Bluff High School, in Aiken, S.C. He went on to play at the University of South Carolina and then went pro, spending three years with the Minnesota Vikings and two with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
After he retired from the NFL, Williamson moved back to Aiken. Back in his hometown, he founded the Fighting Against the O.D.D.S. foundation, a non-profit focused on youth service learning, scholarship and physical activity. He also became a Which Wich franchisee. Here's what this former football star has learned about franchising.
Name: Troy Williamson
Franchise owned: Which Wich, in Aiken, S.C.
How long have you owned the franchise?
I opened up shop last October.
I was looking at getting into franchising because of the proven system and recognized brand name. I was focusing on finding something new and fresh, and when I came across Which Wich. The whole concept caught my attention.
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What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I played professional football for five years; three with the Minnesota Vikings and two with the Jacksonville Jaguars. I grew up in Aiken and went to Silver Bluff High School. I worked my way to the University of South Carolina where I played football for prestigious coach Lou Holtz. After I retired in 2012, I wanted to get back to my community and give back. My foundation is based in Aiken and we work with middle school and high school kids as mentors.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
Just the whole concept drew me in, since it was something I have never seen before. There was a certain vibe about it that felt electrifying for a sandwich shop.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
After fees, operations, building costs, it was around $400,000.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Which Wich helped me out tremendously when going through the process. Chad Todd, the trainer with the brand helped me every step of the way when developing our business in Aiken.
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What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your store?
Nothing out of the ordinary, but you can't get discouraged. If everything was easy, it wouldn't be worth it. From parts and equipment coming in late, to working with different contractors and training myself while having to train others; it was all busy work, and can get hectic but it is well worth it.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Make sure you pick the franchise for you. As a franchisee you're not just behind the scenes, telling others what to do and being some big boss man. You have to be able to enjoy your work and lead by example, it makes for a better work environment for everybody.
What’s next for you and your business?
I am hoping to develop another Which Wich location next year. I am also looking into adding a Smoothie King to my portfolio as well as a gaming truck concept. Now that I have my feet wet with Which Wich, the possibilities are endless.