Retired couple are NZ’s top franchisees

Published: Sun 12 Nov 2017 12:58 PM
NEVER TOO LATE - retired couple are NZ’s top franchisees
The Westpac Supreme Franchisee of the Year award has gone to a retired couple who proved that some of the best opportunities in business lie outside our biggest city.
Judi and Earl McWhirter are living proof that there’s no perfect age at which to start your own business. The couple have just been named New Zealand’s top franchisees, leading the country’s $27.6 billion franchise sector.
The proud grandparents had little business experience before becoming Just Cabins franchisees for Waipa, Otorohanga & King Country. Judi (64) has a PhD in Statistics and spent much of her working life as an academic at Waikato University, while Earl (68) is a retired teacher.
The couple took on the franchise nine years ago and have since achieved considerable success, particularly in the last three years. Now they have been named Westpac Supreme Franchisees of the Year in the prestigious Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards.
Just Cabins rents out self-contained units for individuals and companies to use as extra rooms, offices or accommodation. They need no planning permission, and, once the cabin is no longer required, it can be moved on to the next customer.
The semi-passive income offered by the Just Cabins franchise has enabled the couple to live their dream. Married for 45 years, Judi and Earl told the Franchise Awards judges that their personal drivers are ‘spending more time together and travelling the country.’
The judges reported that, ‘Essentially, they are growing the business to provide for this lifestyle and following a robust and successful franchise system that embraces a clear vision, key processes and business planning.’
There were double celebrations when Just Cabins were also name Supreme Franchise System of the Year. It's only the third time in the Awards' 23-year history that any brand has won both Supreme titles in the same year, and it's the first time that a non-food franchise has managed the feat.
In total, there were 21 awards presented this year including industry categories, best emerging franchise, field manager, community involvement and media awards.
About the awards
The Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards are promoted by the Franchise Association of New Zealand, and entry is open to all members, who include many of New Zealand’s best-known franchised brands.
There are 631 franchise systems in New Zealand, and the sector employs over 124,000 people and contributes around $27.6 billion to the NZ economy.
The 2017 awards were presented at a gala dinner at Alexandra Park, Auckland, on 11th November 2017.
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