June 24th, 2013
Two New AG Owners Bring Different Backgrounds, Similar Focus
One’s an industrial engineer who directed operations for a high fashion jewelry company; the other’s a former vice president with Disney. Both bring significant experience and laser focus to their positions as AlphaGraphics’ latest franchise owners.
Nick Choat is originally from the South, having earned both a bachelors degree and an MBA from the University of Tennessee. Stints with Ernst & Young, Getty Images and Verisign took him west, eventually landing in Seattle and serving in leadership roles with dot coms. Most recently, he was vice president of analytics, digital ad technology and ad operations with the Walt Disney Company. But Nick wanted to do something for himself.
“I’ve been in Seattle for 20 plus years, and it was time to get back closer to my roots and warm my bones a little in south Florida. We’ve bought a few territories here and are looking forward to serving these markets as AlphaGraphics owners,” Choat said. “We looked at everything from quick-serve to other B2B models, and AG was head and shoulders above the rest. This is a really good match for me and my goals, and I’ve been very impressed with the level of support through the process.”
Keith and Michelle Gray in Southlake, Texas started looking at business ownership as a viable option when they found out they could use 401(k) savings to help fund a franchise. Keith was director of operations for Premier Designs, a high-fashion jewelry company, where he was also responsible for the administration of marketing. Michelle has been involved on the sales side for years. He says they were looking at everything from HVAC to automotive when they saw an ad for AlphaGraphics. They went to Discovery Day and “fell in love with the company and the whole concept.”
“We’re entrepreneurs at heart, but we also understand the difference between commoditized sales and business-to-business service. We fell in love with the fact that the company has a vision, and that this attitude of service just permeated the couple of days we were there,” Keith says. “AG’s franchise model gives me great comfort, as the business will only go so far as my leadership will take it. When we visited those owners and saw their operations, I could see myself doing it and doing it well.”
The Grays are both graduates of Memphis State University, he with a degree in industrial engineering and she in dietetics. Both have gained a keen understanding of and significant experience in things like technical sales, business administration, marketing and distribution that they can put to work as AlphaGraphics franchise owners.
“All these years we’ve done it as employees,” Keith says. “Now we’re really looking forward to doing it for ourselves.”
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