River City Six – Shawn Williams
Meet Shawn Williams, owner of the local Cold Stone Creamery and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchises and the founder of Summit Franchise Advisors (SummitFranchiseAdvisors.com).
Tell us a little about your business.
We own all Cold Stone Creamery stores in Omaha and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Midtown and La Vista locations. Recently we began utilizing third party delivery services, so now we can come to you if you can’t come to us! Based on my extensive experience with operating franchises I recently founded Summit Franchise Advisors, which is a specialized consulting company assisting entrepreneurs with identifying, evaluating, and owning the franchise that best fits their personal and professional goals.
How did you get started in the business?
My professional career began in public accounting, followed by 12 years in financial management positions. I realized I wanted to own my own business, eventually bringing BounceU to Omaha. We were the first to market in the “bouncy house”/trampoline family entertainment business. I eventually sold BounceU, and spent several months investigating numerous businesses until Cold Stone became available. It was a “win” because it’s the premium brand in ice cream and I’m proud to be associated with it, I own the entire Omaha market so I control operational quality, and there is room to grow in Omaha so I can scale the business.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
The Great Recession of 2008 was an extreme challenge. We owned BounceU at the time. People were tight on money and we were in survival mode. However, we adapted, improvised, and managed to scrape through when many other small businesses did not.
Tell us a little about your family.
My beautiful wife Cindy has continually supported my entrepreneurial ways. I have a 22-year-old son, Riley, who recently made a wise financial decision to buy his first home. I have an 11-year-old daughter, Karli, who excels both athletically and academically. I have an eight-year-old son, Cooper, who brings joy and adventure to our family on a daily basis.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
My kids are very active in sports and I’ve coached as well. Depending on the time of year, we are playing soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, and/or football. If I have any spare time, I’ll play some golf. We’re also big fans and season ticket holders of Bluejay basketball and Husker football.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
For several years I was a Shriner clown named “Willy.” I performed at numerous parades, circuses, and events, and still know how to juggle.
What are you the most proud of?
I’m “self-made.” I paid for my college education independently and was the first person in my family with a college degree. I’ve worked hard and earned everything I’ve achieved.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
This is my mantra: “Dream Big. Work Hard. Be Nice. Have Fun.”
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
I would have been a good pediatrician, but science was never my thing.
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
I have been on the board of the American Lung Association for many years and I strongly support their cause. I had asthma as a child, my father died from lung cancer, and my mother has COPD. This topic hits close to home.
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