Although the path to becoming an entrepreneur differs for every person, the final destination is the same – becoming one’s own boss. Joy Patton and Dwright Fowler-Davis, are no exception.
The two became friends after moving back to the Philadelphia area in 2015. Joy spent 20 years with ExxonMobil, and after relocating several times during her career, decided to leave corporate America and return home. Dwright was a licensed clinical therapist and director at several therapeutic agencies for 15 years, residing in Virginia before relocating to his native Philadelphia.
Although their career paths differ, they share a commonality as military veterans. Joy was in the U.S. Army National Guard, and Dwright was a Marine Corps paratrooper. The two of them have a combined 12 years of military service.
Joy and Dwright were both seeking to shake up their careers. They did their research and decided that franchising was the best way to achieve their entrepreneurial goals. They chose a UPS Store® franchise for several reasons. First, the low overhead and start-up costs allowed them to minimize the funds needed to start. Second, they saw a need for shipping and small business services in the Northern Liberties area. Third, the franchise would allow them to give back to an underserved community.
To start their business aspirations, Joy and Dwright used a ROBS (Rollover as Business Start-Ups) for their funding. “We initially signed up with a competitor of Benetrends,” Joy explained. “But after one year of extremely poor service from them, we opted to switch to Benetrends (and the Rainmaker Plan®). A decision we have not regretted.”
During the startup process, Joy and Dwright met their fair share of challenges. Joy said, “There were many days when we wanted to throw the towel in, but we were talked off the ledge by friends and loved ones.” Obstacles included obtaining city permits, delayed openings and community acceptance. “It took about a year and half to officially get started and operated,” Joy mentioned. “There are many zoning and coding regulations we had to be compliant with during the construction process.”
Although from Philadelphia, Joy and Dwright took their time to become integrated with the Northern Liberties community. “We wanted to ensure the community that the UPS Store® was locally owned and operated by Philadelphia natives,” Joy said. “Our goal wasn’t to monopolize any existing mom-and-pop businesses. Before we opened our doors, we reached out to the Northern Liberties community to meet residents and business owners. I think this helped make Dwright and I come off as two regular people.”
Dwright and Joy believe in giving back to the community. They recently sponsored “Thank Goodness It’s Monday Breakfast” for WeWork Northern Liberties, an office hub in the area. Additionally, they have reached out to youth organizations based in Northern Liberties to sponsor upcoming fundraising events. “We want to help the Northern Liberties community excel and strengthen,” Joy said.
One thing Joy and Dwright accredit to their success is their military experience. “Although we are our own bosses, we still have to report to people,” Joy iterated. “Serving in the military taught me and Dwright discipline. There are specific requirements we have to follow. And I think our military experience makes this easy to do.”
Joy and Dwright handle most of the day-to-day work at the UPS Store®, but they’ve recently gotten some assistance. A few of their family members have periodically worked part-time at the store. “They’ve been a great help around the store, and it’s been a great bonding experience,” Joy said.
With the UPS Store® almost opened for a year now, Joy reflected on a few things to consider when starting a business.
The first is to be mentally prepared. “It is absolutely necessary for the many challenges and obstacles you will face,” she said. The next is not being afraid to ask for help. “Starting a business is a daunting task that cannot be done alone. Rely on the help and support of friends and family who will be more than happy to help you.” And lastly, it’s critical to have a complete understanding of the financial obligations and commitments it takes to start a business.
Looking into the future, Joy said that she and Dwright hope to open more businesses. “We’re thinking about opening another UPS Store next and potentially something different after that,” Joy mentioned. “Now that we have the experience, we think this is something we can continue to flourish at doing.”
With a 4.9 rating on Google, the UPS Store® on 3rd and Girard in Northern Liberties is off to a great start. To learn more about this location, visit their webpage.