How we swapped a life in the military for a fun, family-run business

 

People often ask me how I ended up as a franchisee at Frios Gourmet Pops. The answer in short: It’s given me the opportunity I’ve long been seeking: Time with my family.

 

What led me to the brand is a longer story, 20 years in the making. September 11, 2001. I was serving in the Army, on my third deployment to Kosovo, when we were attending the nightly Battle Update Brief
(BUB). We watched as a plane crashed into one of the towers. Our lives changed within a matter of seconds. We were thousands of miles from our country and our families, unable to comfort or protect
those we loved. When we returned later that year in November, we went directly to Uzbekistan with no turning back. I knew then I needed to be in the fight, so I applied for the most elite unit in the United States Army. After getting selected I completed eight more deployments between Iraq and Afghanistan.

My wife and I have been together for 20 years, a great accomplishment in itself. We had fulfilled our duty in serving our country side-by-side for 16 years until we both eventually retired. Our family grew in that time as we welcomed our daughter and our son. Deployments proved to be difficult, leaving us to uproot our family to the next city followed by the next city.

Naturally we worried about our kids, wanting them to find a sense of community. Our 14-year-old daughter has moved five times, having to leave her friends and classmates behind. Our seven-year-old son has moved three times, but has fortunately been young enough to forget the hardships.

After my wife and I retired, we wanted to prioritize our family, not only finding a place for us to settle, but a place for us to be together. In addition, we wanted to be a part of our community, something that was instilled in us during our time in the military. It was then that we found Frios Gourmet Pops. At first, we thought the brand seemed to be too simple of a concept. Could a mobile popsicle brand really be the answer? We were pleasantly surprised by the answer.

 

 

Frios Gourmet Pops works with our family for numerous reasons, but there was one driving factor: It has allowed us to fill that value of family. When my wife and I retired from the military, we wanted to transition into a career that wouldn’t consume our lives, taking away important time from our children. In the past we had missed big moments due to moving and deployment. I don’t want to miss another birthday, another first day of school, another pivotal moment in their lives. But its not only the big moments, we wanted to be there for the little ones too. The niche memories that our kids will carry with
them for the rest of their lives.

The brand was one of the few to embody a core value of family, not only saying it, but showing it. This point was made evident after speaking with a Frios’ CEO Cliff Kennedy, who discussed how this brand
has allotted him time with his own family, and how he has made that priority amongst his franchisees.

With Frios, we have a business that our kids can be involved in. Arguably more impressive, they’re excited to be involved. I’ve never seen or heard of a company that entices the entire family to get involved. Our kids will come along with us in the van, “slinging pops” to friends, neighbors, and more.

It has been such an enjoyable experience not only to spend more time with our kids, but to see them flourish. Frios has uniquely brought out professional skills in our children at a young age. Its incredible
to see them hone their interpersonal skills, whether they are explaining a product or completing a transaction. I feel confident that with the help of Frios, our kids will have no problem making a name for
themselves. In a sense, this has taught them how to be business owners, allowing them to understand the many aspects of a business. Not only do they help with our operations, they assist with our marketing as well, becoming arguably one of our best resources. They’ll bring in customers routinely just by talking about their favorite flavors at school.

 

 

 

So, when people ask me how I ended up at Frios Gourmet Pops, I tell them that it as a brand that cherishes one of the most sacred things in life: Family. I’m thankful the memories the four of us have collectively made together with the help of Frios. I’m thankful the personal and professional development that Frios has allowed my children. I’m thankful to be a part of Frios.

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