The Science Behind These Franchisees' Success with STEM Education

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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

Married couple Mistie and Scott Wisniewski entered into franchising when Mistie retired from the army after 22 years. With the help of their children, the couple decided to enter into a science-based company, so they picked Nutty Scientists -- an organization that provides educational, hands-on programs related to STEM for kids between the ages 3 and 16. Then, their local Small Business Association assisted in preparing them for entrepreneurship. Now they are once again surrounded by a team of people working to make their branch of Nutty Scientists fun and growing.  Read on to see what they’ve learned so far as they work to educate children.

Name: Mistie and Scott Wisniewski

Franchise owned: Nutty Scientists of Northern Kentucky

How long have you owned a franchise? Over 2 years

Why franchising?
We knew we wanted to start a business, and we found in our research there was a high chance of success when purchasing a proven franchise. Being a part of a franchise means being a part of a team vs. being alone with no support. The Nutty Scientists team has been incredibly helpful with some key components, like reduced marketing costs, stronger purchasing power and establishing a customer base and sharing ideas, among other things.

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What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Mistie was a warrant officer in the Army, retired after 22 years of service.  We purchased the Nutty Scientists franchise just a few days after she officially retired. Scott is a sales engineer for a Fortune 50 company.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?   
We researched several science enrichment companies in the market and choose Nutty Scientists, because we found it to be the best value. The initial investment compared to the reward was very reasonable. We were also excited about the methodology, the number of programs available from Nutty Scientists and the ability to contribute to the expansion of additional programs.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
$25,000 franchise startup fees
$5,500 franchise training and hiring
$7,000 startup materials, insurance, advertising, marketing and other supplies.

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Small Business Association (SBA) of Kentucky has been a great help. They were fantastic to work with and helped us put together a solid business plan, which helped us prepare for the unexpected and be realistic in our expectations. This resource is available in all states, and they offer training classes, help conduct market research and predict the vitality of the franchise in your area.

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What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Hiring was a major challenge, as we were looking for highly-qualified candidates.  However, once we got the word out, we found the right team. We have a remarkable team that believes in what we are doing and that absolutely makes a difference in our service and brand.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Do your market research and figure out what your area needs. In our community, the Nutty Scientists concept instantly became in high demand, because there is really no one else like us.

What’s next for you and your business?
We just moved from a Nutty Scientists home-based business to a brick-and-mortar establishment in our local town mall.  It was a daring task when we started this transition, but the Nutty Scientists corporate headquarters has been a huge help in guiding us along the way.  We are hoping to continue to grow and bring our nutty brand of science to even more schools, churches, day cares, corporate events and birthday parties.

Related: How a Love of Healthy Food Led to a Beneficial Career Change


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