Steven and Peggy Johns went from serving their nation to serving the veterans in their community. Meeting at Naval Air Station Kingsville in Texas, both are veterans of the Gulf War. Steven retired as a Chief Petty Officer, and Peggy retired from the Navy as a Military Police Officer.
While in the Navy, Steven and Peggy learned what it meant to be an effective leader, to be honest and reliable, and how to serve others – all lessons they have applied to owning and operating Tropical Smoothie Cafe – and traits they admire in the veterans they hire.
Steven and Peggy take pride in finding all their employees from their local community and hiring veterans, military spouses, and countless children of servicemembers. Their own experience in the military enables them to connect with their employees on a deeper level and to be there for them through the challenges they face. “It’s really just about reaching out to your community and being able to do whatever you can to help out. Because the community helps you out.”
Steven and Peggy want to inspire hope in others. But they also have Hope – the trained service dog Peggy received through Operation Battle Buddies – a non-profit that offers Labrador retriever puppies to veterans facing military related injuries – both seen and unseen. “I named her Hope to give me hope,” says Peggy. She has been with Steven and Peggy for two and a half years and brightens up every moment of every day – and is the mascot for their fundraising efforts to give back to Operation Battle Buddies.
And the shaved heads in the video? Steven and Peggy are raising awareness for childhood cancer research and creating a network of support for the children in their community currently battling cancer. “Franchising has actually given us the tools to be able to help a lot more than if we didn’t own something.”
Steven and Peggy Johns are local business owners, and they are Open for Opportunity.