Andre Wadsworth is a former NFL player, founder of Impact Church and Area Developer of Creamistry, a liquid-nitrogen instant ice-cream concept. He’s based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Andre started out playing football and studying business at Florida State University in Tallahassee. He graduated with a masters in Sports Management then was drafted to play for the Arizona Cardinals. Andre and I share a mutual background – growing up around cars! While playing football he bought 3 car dealerships and grew this to a portfolio of 6 dealerships over the 10 years. In 2010 he sold the dealerships, thinking about working in the non-profit sector, but he had always kept an eye on franchising.
On a trip to Newport Beach, California, Andre and his wife and kids discovered a new concept called Creamistry where they were making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. He noticed there were lines around the block, the product was great, and his wife and kids loved it – this was an exciting product! The production of the ice cream, the experience, was part of the appeal. Andre kept in touch with the owner, Jay Yim, and offered to become an area developer for the South East market.
In franchising, with a new concept particularly, good locations are everything. Andre teamed up with real estate guru Ryan Zeleznak to grow the business.
Andre’s favorite part of the business is scaling – he’s always thinking about innovation and growth.
Creamistry stores do $1m to $1.2m in revenue so Andre finds the model of having a General Manager responsible for 3-4 stores works well. These GMs have Assistant GMs under them who look after the individual stores.
The way to find these great people? Start with your culture. Develop a culture of leadership and promotion from within; pay a little more than minimum wage; and advertise on Snag A Job and Zip Recruiter. Once you’ve hired, show these people that they’re appreciated and you’re on a winner!
The GMs job is to oversee 3-4 stores and control labor, product, and ordering. Changing sales volumes means changing par levels and ordering. Hire your GMs for attitude and teach them these skills.
Andre’s story of his worst moment in business was a rough one. A sales manager at one of his dealerships did an after-hours sale where he traded a Dodge Viper for a 7 Series BMW. Unfortunately he made the decision to take the Viper for a spin – on a date! – and wrecked it. The car was uninsured and Andre got sued, and lost! Ouch. Thank you for sharing that story Andre. The moral of the story? Write down every one of your policies and procedures in an employee handbook. You can never be over-prepared with written procedures and policies.
The piece of advice Andre has for all business owners is – have reserves. Keep 30% of your annual sales in reserve because you never know when a downturn might hit. You’ll need to sacrifice profit or growth in the short term but you’ll be able to weather the inevitable storms that hit when you have this reserve.
Andre is excited and passionate about technology. He is always looking for ways to improve the business and keep their competitive edge. A recent innovation has been delivery. Andre’s signed his stores up for Uber Eats, Door Dash and Postmates and is doing 15-20 orders a night through these services. He’s realized an extra $8000-$1200 a night, which adds around $6k to his weekly turnover – or $72k to his sales every year! They have an iPad or two in the store and when an order comes in, they get a notification and can accept the order, add wait time if necessary, then they dispatch the product to the Uber driver. What a cool way to add 10% to your sales!
Andre’s Dad was a big influence in his life. He had Andre late in life, at age 50, and since he was born in 1924 Andre was able to ask his Dad about the big changes he’s seen in his life. They were:
- Trans atlantic flying
- Cell phone
Andre’s passion for technology comes from seeing his Dad’s stores suffer from the internet-enabled competitors who came into his market. That’s been a deep lesson for Andre to always stay connected to technology and recent developments.
Two pieces of advice for staying up to date:
- Always be reading – business journals & newspapers
- Always be talking to people – get out there and see what people are enjoying and talking about.
Andre’s final piece of advice was, “Never think it’s going to be easy!”. Keep working at it, keep improving and eventually you’ll do well!
Reach out to Andre at [email protected]