Primrose Schools Franchise Owners come from all walks of life, but more than a few come from the world of real estate.
David Shelton and his wife, Julia, are the Franchise Owners of Primrose School of Preston Hollow in Dallas. David also is a commercial real estate broker. In addition to his day-to-day work at his school, he represents several national retail clients in the Sunbelt region. He also has a relationship with Primrose that dates all the way back to 2000.
We sat down with him to ask how his real estate career prepared him for owning an early education franchise and what tips he can provide to current real estate professionals.
What made you decide to open a Primrose school?
Shelton: Primrose has been focusing more on urban development, and I was working with the franchise company to find them a new location in the core of Dallas. We found a great location, but the deal didn’t work for the Franchise Owner at the time. I was very familiar with the market, having grown up in the intown part of Dallas, and the building was right in my backyard, so my wife and I decided to open the school ourselves.
Had you previously considered opening your own business?
Shelton: We weren’t pursuing any franchise opportunities, including opening a child care center, before this opportunity came about. Our decision to open a Primrose school was based on our knowledge of the company, our history with them, and their proven track record here in DFW and around the country – the strength of the brand itself made it an easy decision.
What lessons learned from your career in real estate have benefitted you as a Franchise Owner?
Shelton: Real estate is all about relationships, and the same can be said for early childhood education – relationships with students; relationships with parents and extended family; and relationships with staff and management. Just like in real estate, the people that like to cultivate relationships are going to be the most successful. Additionally, in child care, you’re caring for parents’ most precious cargo, so you need to love children and be compassionate toward all the adults involved in the process.
Why is Primrose a good tenant?
Shelton: If you’re a landlord and are looking at Primrose specifically for an office building, retail venture or other commercial project – the kinds of venues typical of a Primrose urban location – a Primrose school is going to be a great tenant for several reasons:
- Proven Track Record: Primrose has a high success rate nationwide of keeping schools not only open, but also successful.
- Clear Amenity: As a high-quality early education provider, Primrose schools are amenities to many different types of real estate projects, from master-planned, single-family neighborhoods to 50-story office towers and everything in between. Child care is a needed service for the tenants/buyers that developers want to attract to their properties. By having the Primrose brand of first-class child care services, a developer may get an edge to win a lease or sale over a competing project.
- Best in Class: One of the key drivers of interest in Primrose as a tenant here in DFW and across the country is that Primrose is considered by the landlord market as a best-in-class operator. You can be confident that you’re bringing the best to your project. Most landlords want to develop and maintain a first-class project, and adding Primrose will only increase your property’s status.
For other real estate professionals considering a move into franchising, what one piece of advice would you give to them?
Shelton: There has been a lot of interest from real estate professionals in franchising in general. Many real estate people are involved in early childhood education because of the relationship-building pieces of both businesses, as well as the attractive financial returns possible with a successful operation.
Opening a franchise is an enormous undertaking. It’s not quick. It’s not easy. My advice is that you need to be committed to it – it is going to take effort and time to get it done and get it done right. However, with that investment of time and the support of a great franchisor, opening an early education franchise can be a very successful business that’s quite rewarding both personally and financially.