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Guy Falzarano - Founder & CEO, Rainbow Academy®

Bio: As Founder and CEO of Rainbow Academy – A Family of Early Learning Centers, Gaetano (Guy) T. Falzarano is responsible for overseeing the vision and strategic direction of the brand and establishing new business strategies to drive the growth and profitability for the Rainbow Academy Franchise Company and franchise system.

Despite difficult economic times, his vision and leadership have made the past five years the best in the company's fifteen year history. His vision for creating a nurturing educational environment that cared for the needs of children and parents has resulted in impressive growth in a short period of time. Under his leadership, Rainbow Academy has grown from one center in Iselin, NJ to thirteen operational child centers across New Jersey with sixteen more franchise units currently under development.

Falzarano is also an advocate for families in need throughout the local communities that Rainbow Academy serves. He is the Founder and President of the Rainbow Academy Foundation, a 501c non-profit organization that helps "keep parents connected with their children". The Foundation distributed over $60,000 in 2012.  Active in representing the interests of all child care center operators, Guy is currently the VP of Governmental Affairs working on behalf of the New Jersey Child Care Association (NJCCA), a non-profit organization representing over 4,300 licensed centers in New Jersey. Falzarano was granted the honor of serving on the New Jersey Preschool Sub-Committee advising Governor Chris Christie on educational reform. 

  1. Tell us about the Rainbow Academy concept.
  2. There really is nothing in child care like the Rainbow Academy concept.  Families are under such stress and our Circle of Care philosophy really resonates with them.  We uniquely focus on the needs of the child AND parent and exceed industry standards to make that happen.

    Rainbow Academy is built on a foundation of family values and we continuously look for ways to add value to the lives of all Rainbow Academy family members. Parents, children, staff, as well as vendors and franchise owners come together as part of our family to create a trusted Circle of Care where each and every member is treated with care and respect.

  3. How and when did you become involved with Rainbow Academy?
  4. I had left a corporate job and was looking for a business that would be a sound investment and also rewarding to operate.  My wife was working in a childcare facility and believed it was the perfect fit. In 1997, we opened our first Rainbow Academy child care center in Iselin, New Jersey. 

    We saw so many parents that were stressed out and worried about leaving their child and feeling guilty about going to work. It was obvious to me that childcare centers only cared for the needs of the child and that the parent was left scrambling behind.  There was a huge opportunity to address these unmet needs.

  5. What was your background prior to joining Rainbow Academy? 
  6. I worked for years in a large telecom corporation, left to operate a marketing company and eventually founded Rainbow Academy. My family is filled with entrepreneurs who have owned everything from a grocery store and a car dealership, to diners and restaurants, and several different franchises. I have a real passion and the commitment to help franchisees create successful businesses.

    My wife, three sons and I have worked in just about every different role within the company. From changing diapers to managing the P&L, we have a deep understanding of what it takes to operate a center. All of these experiences have given me a comprehensive understanding of the support and systems necessary to provide as a franchisor in order for franchisees to accomplish great success.

  7. What are some of the advantages in being a Rainbow Academy franchisee?
  8. Most importantly, we have a culture of care that is unique to our organization and flows from the top down and from the bottom up.  It is very difficult for others to replicate. Our franchisees experience this culture of care and our training programs show them how to create that culture within their own Rainbow Academy center. Nothing can beat a passionate team that creates loyal customer relationships!

    Rainbow Academy franchisees also enjoy industry leading technology, superior facility design, exclusive Seedlings Early Education Program®, with staff development and customer service programs that surpass industry standards. Franchisees participate in a rigorous training which combines hands-on, in-center experiences with classroom and distance learning programs.  

  9. Who is your ideal franchisee?
  10. Our franchisees need to firmly believe in our core values and have a passion for making a difference in the lives of families.  They also need to possess strong business acumen, believe in the Rainbow Academy brand and desire to follow our systems.

  11. Tell us a little about the childcare market?
  12. There has never been a better time to be in the early education arena. Nationally, there is a focus on the necessity for quality early learning programs and the overall child care industry is far behind in possessing what is necessary to achieve those high standards. Also, the uncertain economy has further complicated the lives of busy working parents and their stress has never been higher.  All of this together is the “perfect storm” for a company like Rainbow Academy.  We are uniquely positioned to meet the demands for high quality of education in a high care environment.

  13. What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
  14. Build a strong, sustainable and replicable business model. Focus on building a strong team with strong values and treat your customers and franchisees the way you want to be treated. When you do this well, the P&L takes care of itself.

  15. Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
  16. I have had many bosses throughout my 40+ year work career and I have always found something positive to learn from each them. Some of them taught me the technical aspects of the particular job and others taught me how to treat people, both good and bad. Whether positive or negative, I always believed that there are no accidents and everyone I work with or even meet casually is for a reason. I take relationships seriously and believe everyone can teach me something.

    People who inspire me are: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Abraham Lincoln, Wayne Dyer, Norman Vincent Peale and Napoleon Hill.

  17. What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
  18. Make sure that you believe in the service you offer and that it is unique in the industry, know who you are going into business with, be confident that you can follow the system you are buying and be ready to give the best you have to offer and nothing less, but most importantly - Life is too short not to enjoy the journey. Enjoy the ride!

  19. In your opinion, why do you think that Rainbow Academy would be a great opportunity for someone?
  20. Over the last fifteen years we’ve garnished great results with our proven model. So, once your center is established you can earn a great living while offering a high quality of life. You will get to work with a great group of people who are experts in the business and have fun with it. This is not a business like any other that I can think of - you have customers who are children, their parents, and their grandparents and sometimes even aunts and uncles. You interact with many of them five days a week.  If you love providing great customer service, building strong relationships and making a difference in the lives of others then this is the business for you. I consider myself truly blessed to include all of our franchise owners, 375 employees and close to 2,000 families as part of the Rainbow Academy family and it is growing every day.