In May, Navy veteran Tom Perez purchased a Meineke Car Care Center location in Pensacola, Fla., with the help of Boost A Hero, a crowdfunding site to help veterans open franchises. Perez raised $6,740 through Boost A Hero, and Meineke discounted the franchise fee and provided additional financing, making it possible for Perez to take over the Pensacola location.
In his first six months in business, Perez, 31, has hired five veterans, keeping his promise to help other veterans find jobs. He also has increased sales for his location by 60 percent, and he hopes to open a second center. Perez has been nominated for the International Franchise Association (IFA)’s Veteran of the Year award and is a finalist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes award.
“When I was forced to leave the Navy after 10 years of service due to downsizing, I tried to find a job as a police officer. I had served as master of arms and was a decorated veteran, but I couldn’t find a job,” Perez said. “I looked into opening a franchise and Meineke was clearly a great business opportunity. The skills I learned in the military have been a key part of my success, and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow my business. As I grow, I’ll be able to hire even more veterans, which is something that is important to me.”
Perez completed four tours in Iraq and many tours in other locations. He received four Navy/Marine Corp Achievement Medals, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, three Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, the Global War On Terrorism Expeditions Medal and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
“We are incredibly proud of all Tom has accomplished in his first six months as a Meineke Car Care Center franchisee,” said Dave Schaefers, vice president of franchise development for Meineke. “Meineke has always been committed to helping veterans become business owners, and we have incentivized more than $750,000 in VetFran discounts over the years, making us one of the top VetFran companies in the franchising community. Tom speaks volumes about the capabilities that veterans bring to small business. He is the perfect example of a veteran who needed help finding the capital to open a business only to become an amazing entrepreneur. We’re so happy for Tom and his wife, Jaylene, and we’re proud to have them in the Meineke family.”