Today’s consumers are more savvy and socially conscious than ever before, with many preferring to patronize businesses that demonstrate a commitment to local or global causes. While nonprofit agencies have historically led the business community in mission-focused solutions, they’re forming new partnerships with commercial businesses to expand their impact through efforts such as franchising.
Didlake, a nonprofit agency in the SourceAmerica network, recently partnered with The UPS Store to open its first franchise location in Woodbridge, Virginia., With Didlake’s more than 20 years of experience managing federal mailroom and copy center operations at sites across Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., the store’s franchise opportunity was a natural fit.
Didlake first learned about The UPS Store opportunity through SourceAmerica’s franchise program led by consultant Ben Litalien, Ph.D. The program started in 2012 to support SourceAmerica’s mission of creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities. To help position them for operational success, interested nonprofit agencies within the network go through an initial due diligence process and receive access to extensive franchise development resources.
Litalien thinks SourceAmerica’s franchise program establishes a clear competitive advantage for franchisors.
“The primary challenge for franchisors is labor,” Litalien said. “Not only are franchisors in the SourceAmerica franchise program getting very qualified nonprofit agencies as franchisees, but they’re also getting a very eager and well-trained workforce―people with disabilities. It’s a win-win for both parties.”
On Dec. 9, Didlake held a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate its first franchise location with The UPS Store. In addition to Didlake leadership, community leaders and politicians also attended, including Senator-elect Jeremy McPike, D-VA, representatives from the office of Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-VA, and Brianna Sewell, outreach director for Prince Willliam County, Virginia.
“We’ve begun an exceptional journey toward realizing our vision of communities where dreams are fulfilled by joining The UPS Store family,” said Rick Sebastian, president and CEO of Didlake.
Chris Adkins, vice president of franchise development at The UPS Store, said SourceAmerica’s franchise program has become a part of the company’s annual growth strategy because it helps to enhance its reputation while increasing the number of communities served.
“The UPS Store allows Didlake to offer people with disabilities in the local community an opportunity to learn new skills while earning a paycheck,” Adkins said. “Didlake’s mission statement is ‘Creating opportunities that enrich the lives of people with disabilities’, and The UPS Store franchise opportunity allows us to be a small part of that mission.”