The early childhood education franchise has signed 17 new franchise agreements so far this year, all while focusing on delivering quality care and achieving systemwide accreditation.
ISELIN, N.J. – Lightbridge Academy®, a premier early childhood education and child care services franchise, continues to set an impressive pace in 2023 with significant franchise growth. Year-to-date, the brand has signed 17 new franchise agreements and has nearly 20 centers in development. The team is looking to add a total of 40 additional locations, across 10 different states, by the end of 2023.
“Overall, the first half of this year has been exceptional in all areas within the organization,” said Lightbridge Academy Senior Vice President Jim DiRugeris. “From a franchise development perspective, we’re on pace to have another historic year in awarding franchises.”
Lightbridge Academy also opened up three new states — Colorado, Georgia, and Michigan — for fast track development and sales. This is part of the brand’s proactive real estate strategy in which Lightbridge Academy leases real estate sites at the corporate level before franchise owners are signed. This strategy allows the brand to leverage its development partnerships to secure real estate while also looking for franchise partners to eventually take over the business.
“We have never had more projects moving through our construction pipeline than we do today,” said Craig Murray, CDO at Lightbridge Academy. “In conjunction with our current growth, we are aiming to get another 10 of those locations under lease within the next three months. That would make this a record year in terms of lease and purchasing agreements for our franchisees. The momentum we’ve built so far is incredible.”
When it comes to the reasons behind this momentum, DiRugeris says the appeal of the brand lies not only in its financial potential, but also in the company’s leadership, core values and the high-quality of education and care it delivers to young families in the communities.
“Multi-unit franchisees looking to expand their portfolios, as well as those working in corporate jobs that are looking to open their own business, are both seeing the value in our offerings,” said DiRugeris. “They understand the value and demand for high-quality centers for early childhood education, and many see this as an excellent business opportunity that makes a difference. We aim to continue our reasonable and responsible growth for the rest of the year, choosing franchisees that share our core values and can thrive as part of our Lightbridge Academy family.”
The first half of the year has also seen Lightbridge Academy making great strides towards achieving its goal of systemwide accreditation.
“Accreditation is not just about being certified on paper, but also in process,” said Jennifer Romanoff, Lightbridge Academy Vice President of Education and Training. “It helps ensure that our curriculum is not only up to accreditation standards, but is also being carried out correctly in every classroom, from every teacher, with every child, at every age. It is just another way to support the execution of a quality educational program.”
To help support all Lightbridge Academy franchisees on their journey to becoming accredited, Romanoff says the home office walks them through every step of the process and is constantly working to elevate their standards and practices. Currently, every new Lightbridge Academy center is opened to accreditation standards. Currently, there are about 30 open centers actively going through the accreditation process and the rest are set to follow.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Lightbridge Academy plans to continue its impressive development momentum, while upholding its commitment to providing high quality education and child care services.
“As the first half of this year has shown, we are expanding rapidly but responsibly with both new and existing franchisees,” said DiRugeris. “We are not selling licenses; we are awarding franchises — and there’s a huge difference. For me, it’s about building relationships and bringing like-minded individuals into the system who are going to share our core values, support the other franchisees and bring our Circle of Care to life for children, parents, team members, franchise owners and the communities in which we’re located.”
To learn more about Lightbridge Academy’s programs, visit https://LightbridgeAcademy.com/. To learn more about franchising opportunities, visit https://LightbridgeAcademyFranchise.com/. Costs to open a Lightbridge Academy franchise start at $621,233 for a leased center and $2,611,900 for a purchased center.
About Lightbridge Academy:
Established in 1997, the company was founded as a family business based on core values and a Circle of Care philosophy that places equal importance on the needs of children, their families, teachers, center owners and the community. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Lightbridge Academy provides quality early education and child care programs to children aged six weeks through kindergarten. The company currently has over 140 child care centers either open or in development throughout Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. In response to COVID-19, Lightbridge Academy launched The Lightbridge Promise as the Gold Standard for health & safety in the child care industry. In 2020, the company was featured on the Inc. 5000 ranking, Franchise Times Top 200+ awards, and on Newsweek’s 2021 list of America’s Best Customer Service. For the 2nd year in a row, Lightbridge Academy was on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies. In 2023, Lightbridge Academy was featured for the 9th year on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500.