Meet the Johnson’s! This month is Charlie & Susan’s tenth anniversary as Kitchen Tune-Up franchise owners. This husband and wife team has won numerous national awards in their decade as Tunies, most recently the Franny of the Year award in 2016 and National Customer Service Award in 2017. Susan currently helps other franchisees and our Home Office team by serving on our Advisory Council. Read more below, and if you’re near central Arkansas you can visit their showroom in Maumelle.
What were your careers before becoming Tunies?
Charles had a successful career in sales in the field of technology. He had also spent time working in the financial sector. Knowing that he was not ready to retire and that his dream was to own a business that provided a quality service to its customers, he began a serious exploration to find the right business model. After a long search, Kitchen Tune-Up offered the qualities that he was looking for in this business venture. Susan had over 20 years in clinical and senior management in the field of healthcare. Her customer service and marketing background brought transferable skills to successfully working with customers. She possessed a keen interest in design and desired to put her talents to work in a totally different career venue.
What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
Making our own decisions. Even if mistakes are made, at the end of the day we learn from those and adjust accordingly.
What comes to mind as your most memorable kitchen update?
It is hard to have only one as there are so many different types of memories. The customer that was so kind, the customer that was challenging but resulted in a great relationship, the kitchen that had the most dramatic change…..I think one that we will never forget is the customer that moved to a larger house that needed work so they would have space to adopt a teenage boy. The “new kitchen” greatly improved upon the function and style of the space. The change was certainly rewarding. But, working with such a giving and caring family that was willing to make some sacrifices made such an impression on all of our team. We were honored to be a part of the story.
Any advice for someone thinking about making the leap and buying their own franchise?
Be prepared for a learning curve and keep thinking about the big picture. Rarely does a business have overnight success. It takes most owners awhile to become established as the expert in your field. Embrace the knowledge that a franchise system offers and the expertise of fellow franchise owners.
When you’re not working, what is are your favorite hobbies or pastime?
We enjoy being with our family and grandchildren’s events. We have a house boat at a nearby Marina where we have established friendships and enjoy down time.
What’s something unique about your area?
Arkansas is known for its die hard Razorback football team fans. We also offer a state with beautiful scenery and a thriving tourism industry. Central Arkansas offers lots of festivals for the arts as well as the Clinton Library and Museum. There are numerous beautiful lakes and parks all within a short drive. Visitors are amazed at the quality of life central Arkansas offers.
We switch up our National Reunion location each year. What has been your favorite city to visit or most memorable Reunion so far?
We loved Nashville. It was such a fun time in a city that we enjoy visiting. Can’t beat the Grand Ole Opry with good friends
Do you have a favorite cabinet door style?
There are so many great options for our customers. I think a flat panel door with a wide stile and rail such as the Windom or the Brickstone really give a home an updated sophisticated look.
What was the biggest motivator to WHY you bought your own franchise?
Together, we decided to follow out interests, hobby, and talents to serve customers wanting quality service and options to update their home. We wanted to do something we enjoy and do it the right way. Kitchen Tune-Up helped us achieve that!
What have you found to be the biggest benefit to franchise ownership?
Not having to “reinvent the wheel.” Having a path to follow and the support of professionals in the field has been priceless.