Jim Argue, a teacher and father of two, never imagined that enrolling his students in a tutoring program would lead to a career change, much less that he would end up a successful, multi-unit franchise owner.
“I was teaching in the school district and my daughter had gone through a bad time with serious asthma and had missed a great deal of school. She needed to get help and Sylvan Learning looked like the answer,” said Jim Argue, a Sylvan Learning franchisee in Edmonton and Calgary, Canada. “My son received help later on in writing and math. Both have long since graduated university with degrees.”
After witnessing firsthand the impact that Sylvan Learning programs had on both of his children, Argue got to thinking seriously about pursuing ownership of a Sylvan Learning franchise -- and quickly sprung to action.
“At the time, we reviewed the opportunity of partnering with a gentleman from Calgary that was looking for a partner in Edmonton. Within a year, we had bought him out,” said Argue.
From there, Argue’s business skyrocketed, and at one point, he was the owner of 15 locations.
Argue’s story is not an uncommon path to Sylvan franchise ownership. Ashish Gandhi and Sapna Chordia are another example of Sylvan parents becoming franchisees, whose son went through the program to improve his writing.
“It dawned on us how quickly he improved his writing skills and how the center utilized technology and old school techniques to teach children,” said Gandhi. “You get the kids to write on paper but supplement with technology and that combination really helps my son get more involved and experience a whole new realm of learning. We found the program to be quite helpful for him which made us look into it more seriously as a business investment and a way to give back to the community. We can help people out using the experiences and lessons we’ve learned with tutoring options.”
Gandhi and Chordia opened their first location in Reston, Virginia, and plan to open additional locations when that location is fully up and running.
When asked what he likes best about being a Sylvan Learning franchisee, Argue says, “The current management team has been awesome -- very supportive.” He adds, “Sylvan is light-years ahead of the competition in terms of research and development.”
The research and development Argue is referring to is Sylvan’s second-to-none programs like Sylvan EDGE, including robotics and coding, along with its commitment to integrating technology into its teaching methods. Backed by nearly forty years of experience and more than 750 locations globally, Sylvan Learning has a long history of being ahead of the curve in terms of its offerings, setting the brand apart from other education concepts in the space.
Gandhi echoes Argue’s sentiments, and credits the ease of opening his location with the strong corporate support.
“Franchisees like Jim and Ashish and Sapna are perfect for the system because they understand the value of the program and how it can help children improve quickly. Jim has been able to grow his business exponentially over the years, and Ashish and Sapna are perfectly suited to continue growing their Sylvan footprint,” said Amy Przywara, chief marketing officer of Sylvan Learning. “Many of our franchisees join the system because they see how impactful our programs are for students of all ages and then after doing some research, realize it’s a great business opportunity with proven systems and strong corporate support.”
Though he has sold a few of his territories in recent years Argue says, “I’m 63 years old and looking ahead to retirement, but as I look back at my journey with Sylvan, I’d do it all over in a heartbeat.”