“The leadership roles that we learned in the military, the job acuity, the go-get-em’ attitude… It’s all the same processes.”

– Steven and Peggy Johns, Tropical Smoothie Cafe – Schertz, TX

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Steven and Peggy Johns, Tropical Smoothie Cafe – Schertz, TX

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.

Cheston C. Syma, Sport Clips Haircuts – Texas & Illinois

When Cheston C. Syma left the U.S. Marine he transferred his leadership skills into franchising. Cheston is now a multi-franchise and multi-unit franchisee of Sport Clips Haircuts with forty-one locations, employing more than 300 employees throughout Texas and Illinois.

Brian Thompson, Metal Supermarkets – Tampa, FL

Brian Thompson wasn’t always active in the veteran community in Tampa, Florida. A veteran of the United States Navy, Brian spent nine years working in the nuclear power program in the submarine service. After retiring from service, he spent more than two decades working in corporate America before an opportunity to own his own business came up – and he decided he wanted to plant roots in Florida as owner of three Metal Supermarkets stores (and more on the way!).

Jason Madden, The Entrepreneur’s Source – Albuquerque, NM

Jason Madden enlisted in the United States Marine Corps straight out of high school and spent the next 16 years in the military, taking him to more than 32 countries being charged with tactical and strategic responsibilities. Today, Jason applies his skills from the military, including resiliency, adaptability, and strategic thinking, to his present-day-success as the owner of The Entrepreneur’s Source in Albuquerque, New Mexico.