Franchise Spotlight – Rhett Bratt & Dawn Lopshire
Meet Rhett Bratt and Dawn Lopshire, OE franchise owners in Walnut Creek, California.
1.Tell us about your backgrounds (professional, family, hobbies).
Rhett: My father was a geologist, and as a result we moved around quite a bit. I was born in northern Illinois farm country, but lived in Maine, Ontario, the Atacama Desert in Chile, Vancouver, Tucson, and Denver – all before attending Beloit College in southern Wisconsin and then settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have learned that energy, imagination, and motivation know no physical boundaries – people are the same wherever you go. I have a pottery wheel and throw pots (and bowls and mugs!) for fun – at least when I’m not running or cycling long distances as an endurance athlete.
Dawn: My parents were florists in Fort Wayne, Indiana, who started with a family greenhouse and grew their business into a full-service flower and gift store. I guess you could say that entrepreneurialism comes naturally to me, and I’m no stranger to working nights or weekends when I need to. I graduated from Ball State University, then moved to the Bay Area just to see a different part of the country, and I never left. I read voraciously, play mah-jongg, and keep close tabs on our two adult daughters.
2. What made you decide to become OE franchisees?
Rhett: After leaving a 20-year career in corporate finance at Charles Schwab, I spent several months searching for my next professional role. I wanted something that would leverage both my strategic business analysis skills and experience. Running my own business had always appealed to me, and I considered opening a sports team apparel business or launching a consulting practice. But after evaluating several different business concepts, I chose Office Evolution because it checked the two most important boxes for me. It provided a dynamic market with a trajectory of healthy growth, and it gave me a supportive, transparent partner to help navigate an unfamiliar business. I’m happy to say I’ve not been disappointed in either case.
Dawn: Rhett’s research on OE coincided with the high school graduation of our youngest daughter, so I also found myself ready for a transition back into the workforce. With an extensive network of community contacts developed from 15 years of volunteer activity, including PTAs and local school bond campaigns, and experience in professional sales and administrative roles, I was able to provide a complementary set of skills well-suited for an OE franchise. Like Rhett, I’m grateful for the ongoing support and win-win approach of the OE team.
3. Tell us a little about your location and members.
Dawn: Office Evolution Walnut Creek is located at the intersection of the two main highways at the north end of the Diablo Valley, and it’s right across the street from the Walnut Creek commuter rail station, so it’s very convenient for anyone thinking about flexible workspace. Located on the second floor of an annex building in a prestigious office park, OE Walnut Creek sits above both the complex’s amenities center and an award-winning bakery and deli. The downtown restaurants, bars, boutiques, and shopping plazas are just a couple blocks away.
OE Walnut Creek members include the headquarters of an occupational nurses association, a remote executive for an Ohio-based insurance firm, a social media consultant, a firm providing transportation for special-needs children, a health and wellness coach, a mortgage brokerage
team, an arts-and-culture marketing consultant, a dental products firm, and the northern California marketing office of Cirque du Soleil. The members come from a wide range of industries, but they share an appreciation for the top-level professional space and the welcoming, highly-personal attention from our business center manager.
4. What do you enjoy most about owning/running a flexible workspace?
Rhett: No two days are ever the same when you own your own business, especially a business in which you interact with so many different people in so many diverse industries. Learning from both members and guests never gets old, and helping people accomplish their professional goals is richly satisfying. Like communities across the country, Walnut Creek has no shortage of ambitious, hard-working, creative people trying to make a difference to others in a seemingly limitless range of ways. Giving them the physical workspace and basic administrative services to free them up to do their best work is exactly why Dawn and I joined OE.
5. As entrepreneurs and business owners, what advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Rhett: The entrepreneur’s insomnia – lying awake at two in the morning, your mind racing with to-do’s and what-if’s – is a real thing. That is why it’s so important to believe in the business model you’ve chosen and to surround yourself with people as committed to success as you are. Having company on your entrepreneurial journey is critical, whether it’s the partnership at the business-center level between owners, among owners and the center staff, or among the business center and the rest of the franchise organization. Office Evolution understands that success is all about the people – franchisees, corporate team, location staff, vendors, members, and guests – all feeling connected, like a Hawaiian Ohana. And that is why it works so well.
Other location news you might be interested in: