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At every turn in the franchising journey, I have been excited about our candidates’ abilities to surprise and wow me with their perseverance, stories, and moxie.


This couldn’t be truer of our first franchisees, Chris Fetter and her husband Tad Heineman.


I had my doubts when I first received Chris’s inquiry and later learned about the hurdles she would have to cross to become a franchisee with us. Chris said with confidence that she and Tad would:

  1. Sell their house in Asheville, pick up their lives and move to Greenville to make it happen.
  2. Tad would secure a supervisor position within a company that is almost exclusively known to only hire management from within.
  3. They would make roots in Greenville and complete the remaining portions of the qualification process to become the first franchisees of Wake Foot Sanctuary in 2017.


I met and talked with Chris over the months and interviewed her with our team. She was not deterred in the slightest as we challenged her with concerns and questions. She had to jump through all of the proverbial franchise qualification hoops.


As we work with her now through site selection, design, training, and her lease negotiations that are now commencing, I’ve been thinking more and more about those key elements of what we look for in a successful Wake Foot Sanctuary franchisee candidate. These are a couple of items we start to evaluate as we walk through the interview process:


Drive. It’s the first word that comes to me when I think of Chris and probably one of the most important criteria in business today. When you own a business you will always have new challenges to overcome. Your ability to rise above, focus on the end game and strategic goals, and ability to keep plugging away is often the difference between those that are successful and those that are not. I admire those who hustle. They recognize and appreciate chasing down those goals and dreams and are absolutely tenacious in their approach. It’s very much a requirement to be a successful business owner.


High level customer service abilities. At Wake Foot Sanctuary, we absolutely hang our hat on service excellence. Beyond our unique services, our strong processes and tools, it’s the most important element to our entire experience. We are looking for people who have that passion for executing high-level customer service. But ultimately, they must also have the ability to motivate and lead others to execute with the same high regard for customer service values. Every employee of a Wake franchisee who comes in contact with a guest has the opportunity to make the mark of an exceptional experience. Understanding this concept is paramount and having the confidence to lead a team on this journey is something that is critical to the selection of a Wake franchisee.


Chris handily crossed off all of those three goals she had that I mentioned before in a matter of just a few short months. No one on our team could ignore her drive and perseverance in wanting this business made a reality. We cleared the path to get done what she needed, and she marched right on in. She also came from a strong background of customer service and now–more than ever–wanted to parlay that experience into a legacy-based business.


In recent months, as we have talked to franchise candidates, there has been more talk of a “legacy” business for candidates and their families. I’ll try not to get too mushy here but that really is at the heart of what I hope we create for our franchisees, my own family, and our own Wake teams.


When I thought about legacy, I couldn’t help think about Chris mentioning her daughter, Blake, and the idea of a legacy business for her daughter, too.


So, I reached out to Blake and asked her “What traits or values do you feel like your mom has passed down to you?”


She said, “This is an easy one. Drive. The drive to be successful, the drive to be passionate in all things, the drive to continually better herself, which all of these things are great but I think most importantly, the drive to love and support people no matter the circumstance. She would say the drive to be a better mother – but that is a given😉.”


Blake echoed back to me those two items we look for. In the end, it’s really no surprise that it all fell into place like it did. We started the relationship recognizing these two traits in Chris rather quickly and she happens to possess many other valuable characteristics that will make her a successful Wake Foot Sanctuary owner in the many years to come.


This article was written by Melissa Long, CEO and Founder of Wake Foot Sanctuary.

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  1. […] know, we are opening up a franchise location in Greenville very soon. We are so excited to share a fantastic blog post written by our CEO and founder that puts the spotlight on our first franchisees – Chris […]

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