A Franchising Dream Becomes A Second Opportunity to Do Life!
It was on August 1st, 2007, when the I35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River. Nearly two hundred people had their lives turned upside-down; for thirteen of them, dreams came to an end, as another one hundred and forty-four dealt with the pain and rehabilitation that comes from horrific injuries caused by piles of shattered concrete, twisted steel and the waters of the Mississippi River.
There was one man in this tragedy who not only found his life turned upside down with pain, but also found a ‘second chance’ that has brought him to the cusp of a new world, providing him with a lucrative job and a positive outlook to go hand-in-hand with his incredible family.
Garrett Ebling is the man we are speaking about. He’d been working in the communications world for the Great Clips corporation located in a suburb of southern Minneapolis. All facets of Garrett’s life were on track and going extremely well. He’d just gotten engaged to his beloved, Sonja, and was celebrating a success at work one evening when he found himself a bit lost, and missed an exit that would’ve taken him home. This one small mistake that no one would ever think twice about ended up placing Garrett directly in the middle of a tragedy.
Becoming backed-up in traffic on the I35W bridge, Garrett remembers how he felt the bridge shake, and how the line of cars in front of him simply disappeared.” They just dropped out of sight in a second, like the earth had swallowed them up,” he states. “And a second later my car starts feeling weightless as the bridge below me is falling. I had this moment of feeling like being at the top of a roller coaster, right before plummeting.”
Even the strongest imagination can not know what that feeling is like – a true look into the jaws of death by a man who was happy and fulfilled in his life. He doesn’t remember the impact from falling 110 feet. In fact, Garrett’s next memory doesn’t occur until August 19th, when he was brought out of a medically-induced coma in the hospital. The doctor informed him that his accident was the equivalent of driving a car into a brick wall at 100 miles an hour, and Garrett was soon facing eight surgeries and medically sedated for those three weeks. When he ‘came out of it’ on the 19th, his true fight began.
But Garrett is a fighter, and he pushed through. It was early December when he went back to work part-time, but by May 2008, when he was full-time again, the post traumatic stress disorder arrived. This is when the hugely emotional weight of that moment brought more trauma to this amazingly courageous man’s life, yet he survived it all and ended up marrying Sonja on the weekend of the one-year anniversary of the bridge collapse – the first step to turning a nightmare into a second chance.
When Garrett speaks about his opportunities, he does so with excitement in his voice, proving once again that he has a mind, body and soul that is willing to push further and open doors for himself that were perhaps not there to begin with.
Working in communications was a good thing for Garrett, but he also realized that a job with four ‘fake cubicle’ walls was not the life-long dream he had in mind. He wanted to attempt a different career path where he could have the ability to see an idea grow and make himself, and the business he chose, into a complete success
Like a great many people are doing right now, Garrett began looking at the myriad of franchise opportunities available. After all, his employment with Great Clips allowed him an in-depth look at the franchising world, seeing as that this corporation IS a great franchise model in-and-of-itself. This is a man who paid attention and recorded all that needed to be done in order to have a successful franchise. His job entailed being on the other side of the telephone speaking with people who wanted to become franchisees, and he took the time to understand the commonalities between them. It was then, in 2009, when Garrett walked directly into the franchise that would lead him out of that dreaded cubicle.
The summer of 2009 was when Garrett and his fiancée took a stroll in Boulder, Colorado and found ‘restaurant row’ which had a specific storefront called, Which Wich.
Garrett recalls: “I didn’t know what it was, but it looked cool and interesting. We had a remarkable experience. The food was awesome. The manager walked us through the ordering system. He brought our sandwich out and talked to us. I could see there was more going on there than just trying to make a buck. There was an investment in the customer.” And as we’ve been speaking about for months now, readers, the franchises that truly care about their customers and clients are the ones who have the most amazing success in the business world.
For those of you who are unaware, Which Wich was founded by a man who was tired of the lack of great sandwiches that were available in quick service restaurants, which is how the fresh, innovative concept of delivering superior sandwiches served in an edgy, cool environment first came about. The first Which Wich Superior Sandwiches opened in Texas in 2003 and has been committed to creating the best sandwiches in more than fifty varieties of customizable “wiches” ever since.
Not only is the food, ambience and service amazing with this franchisor, but the ordering system is actually revolutionary. Customers arrive and use red Sharpies® to mark up pre-printed menus on sandwich bags. They select their own sandwich from one of ten categories then choose the type of bread, size, cheese, spreads, and vegetables. The sandwiches are prepared to guests’ exact specifications and delivered in personalized sandwich bags. And those bags end up being artwork left by customers that hang side-by-side with the black-and-yellow “vibes” on the walls of Which Wich. (The five original Which Wich ‘vibes’ are the heart, smiley face, globe, musical note, and peace sign.) In essence, this is one restaurant that is NOT simply another sandwich shop. This is a place that was built on positive energy (and Lord knows we all need a little of that). They do their best to spread the ‘vibe’ of happiness and life across the country in every restaurant that opens. And that is JUST what Garrett Ebling is spreading as well. This is a man who took the very worst possible negative you can think of, and has joined up with a ‘team’ that is all about the positive! A better connection could not have been made in the restaurant or franchise world.
The very first Which Wich restaurant came to Minnesota in July, 2011, when Garrett opened his sandwich shop in Blaine. Garrett was quoted as saying that: Which Wich is really a second chance, a second opportunity to do life. Which Wich gives you energy and motivation. There’s no obstacle now that I see that makes me want to turn back because I’ve beaten so many odds already. If ‘hard’ is trying to find the right location for the restaurant, or doing your payroll, or your ordering…it’s really not so bad.
Over the following months we will be delving into the world of Which Wich and the amazing franchise opportunities that come from this stellar restaurant that is sweeping the country. And as far as fears or questions regarding taking the ‘leap’ and becoming a franchisee, all you will need to do is look at the life of this incredible man.
Garrett Ebling was looking straight into darkness, yet he now has a new wife, a little boy named, Cooper, was born on March 2nd , 2011, a new career, and a positive outlook.
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Until Next Time, Everybody,