Family is a word we use a lot here at Creative Colors International. The company was founded by, and is currently run by, a family… and we want to make sure each and every member of the CCI team feels like they are a part of it. We think it’s what helps make our franchisees happy and helps keep our customers calling us back again and again.
Family might be a word we use often, but romance? We’ll admit not everyone goes as weak in the knees as we do when we finish a fantastic leather repair job, but romance really is alive and well here at Creative Colors International. That’s in evidence by the number of husband and wife teams we have throughout the organization! In honor of Romance Awareness Month, let’s meet a husband/wife franchise team that’s making it work both on the job and off: Frank and Lena Earnest, owners of the CCI franchise in Oklahoma City North.
Everybody loves a love story. Can you both tell us yours?
Lena: Frank introduced himself to me at a church dinner for college students. We talked and started dating. Most of our dates were walking around a park and talking. The more I was with him, the more I wanted to be with him.
Frank: I saw this small, beautiful, blonde, bubbly girl across the room. I kept trying to work my over to talk to her and, being the social butterfly, she kept moving. Other guys kept going up to her and talking to her. I finally got a chance to introduce myself and spoke with her briefly. She had to leave! It took me two weeks to track her down. Three months later we were engaged and then a year and a half later we got married.
You’ve been married for 38 years now, but you weren’t always able to spend them together.
Lena: Frank was an officer in the Army. He was away from home training or on deployments. It was very lonely. I would worry about him. Back in our early years of marriage, we didn’t have the technology to communicate when he was away from home, so I didn’t know how he was.
Frank: I was extremely busy trying to ensure my soldiers were trained for combat and making sure they had everything they needed. I never wanted to have a soldier die on account that I failed to train them properly or provide them with the resources they needed. I always felt bad because Lena had to be a single parent, but I knew she would make the best decisions she could and that she would take care of our family until I could be there.
How did you make the decision to buy a franchise and work it together?
Lena: We wanted to spend more time together. When Frank retired, we knew we would want to do something together.
Frank: Lena spent 30 years as a special education teacher. She was ready for a change too. We went to a job fair for veterans and that’s where we first heard about Creative Colors International.
Why did you ultimately choose Creative Colors International?
Frank: Honestly at first we ruled it out. But, at another job fair, we met an owner of a CCI franchise. She explained more about the company, so we added Creative Colors back in our research process.
Lena: Frank has always enjoyed working with his hands. We also liked the concept of taking something and fixing it and making it look better. Frank also likes being able to start a project and see it through to completion. This provides instant gratification since most repairs are completed relatively quickly. We are proud of our work.
So what is a typical day like?
Frank: There is no typical day. Our day changes many times throughout the day! We supervise three other employees. We do repair work as well. A lot of our time is spent coordinating and getting the resources our employees need. We also do most of the estimates together.
Lena: We service 15 different RV dealerships! When they have a unit worth several hundred thousand dollars that needs to be repaired, they want it repaired ASAP! Our business is also growing in the restaurant and medical fields.
Some people would never DREAM of working with their spouse! How do you two make it work for you?
Frank: It was rough starting out. With her work in special education, Lena was used to asking for permission, and as an Army officer, I was used to being the one giving the permission! Needless to say, we operated in different ways. We had to determine the roles that we would each play to ensure the success of our company.
What’s the best thing about working with your spouse?
Lena: We get to spend time together. I like seeing Frank’s face after a repair is completed and he knows he’s done a good job!
Creative Colors has many successful husband-wife teams throughout our system. If you and your spouse are considering opening a franchise together, be sure to check out your options with Creative Colors at https://creativecolorsintl.com/franchise-opportunities/.