Michael and Cindy Sullivan have lived in Texas for almost 50 years. The couple opened their first Sylvan Learning center in 2000 and since then, have opened five successful locations across Fort Worth, Abilene, Lubbock and Sweetwater.
For Michael, Sylvan has always represented an opportunity to better the community.
“When I looked at Sylvan, it was a business where I could fulfill my lifelong desire to make a difference. I could use my strong business acumen to build a career of helping children meet their potential,” said Sullivan. “What really sets Sylvan apart from other competitors is that the quality of its educational programs are unsurpassed. Through initial testing, the curriculum is tailored to each individual child by focusing in on how they learn, the speed at which they learn and areas where they need added attention.”
Bettering the overall community has always been a part of the Sullivan’s plan. Currently, around 40 students are on scholarship to receive free supplemental tutoring, and the couple hopes to help even more as their son, Matthew, takes on a greater role in the business. Matthew has held every position--working his way up from an intern to franchisee--and now plans to grow the family’s Sylvan centers and increase the brand’s presence in Fort Worth as well as the central and northwestern regions of Texas.
“The more centers we have, the more students we’re able to reach and help. For me and Matthew, that is the mission,” said Sullivan.
As the Sullivan’s plan to expand in Fort Worth, the company is looking at the bigger picture for development across Dallas-Fort Worth as the population of the region trends upward. Between 2015 and 2016, Dallas-Fort Worth welcomed more than 140,000 people, making it the top city in the U.S. for numerical growth, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Sylvan currently has 14 brick and mortar locations and three satellite centers in the market and is looking to add eight new sites between the two cities in order to keep up with the demand.
Sylvan Learning Senior Director of Franchise Development Georgia Chasen says that the strong partnerships that franchisees like the Sullivan’s have built in their communities is a big part of the reason the brand resonates with residents and continues to grow.
“We’ve had a really great relationship with the Boys & Girls Club of Texas. I’d say that, along with other local partnerships, has created an educational community that our franchisees are truly ingrained in, leading to success” said Chasen.
To continue to expand on these partnerships, the brand is looking towards SylvanSync as the path for future development. This new tech-savvy program incorporates more hands-on, interactive teaching with iPads and allows parents and students to continue to learn and check their progress at home by logging online to mySylvan.
“This cutting-edge technology has allowed franchisees to reach a larger base of consumers by taking services out of their brick and mortar centers to either community and institutional partnerships or to areas that parents are looking for a Sylvan outlet, but the population may not be large enough to support a center,” said Chasen.
Through technological advancements in learning and strong community involvement, Sylvan is thriving with more than 750 locations nationwide. The brand is always searching for franchise partners to expand its presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and throughout the U.S.
The initial investment for a Sylvan Learning center ranges from $70,980 to $159,890 and includes a $24,000 initial franchise fee.