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Kathy Segmuller

She Owns It: Huntington Learning Center

Huntington Learning CenterIn 1977 Dr. Raymond and Eileen Huntington opened the first Huntington Learning Center in Oradell, NJ, because they recognized a need to offer high quality tutoring to students of all ages. Today, thanks to Huntington Learning Center’s phenomenal success in helping students at every level, the company has grown to include hundreds of locations nationwide. Eileen and Ray still run the company with their able staff, many of whom have been with the company for decades.

Huntington Learning Center offers franchise opportunities with an initial investment that starts at $100,000 (up to $226K according to their item 7) and boasts a significantly higher average revenue than their competitors.

This is from an interview with Kathy Segmuller, co-owner of 4 Huntington Learning Centers sharing what she’s learned over her 27 year career with Huntington.

Tell me about your background

I have been with the Huntington Learning Centers since December of 1990. My first four years with Huntington was as a Director for another franchisee. In 1994, my mom and I purchased our first of four Huntington Learning Centers. Prior to Huntington, I worked at Catholic University and Loyola College for a combined six years as a college administrator.

What was happening in your life that caused you to want to own a business?

My decision to leave Loyola was motivated by my desire to pursue the field of business. I loved education but knew I needed an additional challenge. It was an important goal that my career provided both a psychological and financial reward. As I researched Huntington, I became confident it would allow me to grow as an educator and as a businesswoman.

Why a franchise?

I never considered a start-up because I value that in franchising a system has been created for the business owner. In addition, franchising provides the best of both worlds, you have your own business but also a system to support you. With that said, I also understood to be successful, I would have to follow the system.

Why Huntington – did you look at any other options?

My mother and business partner did research other options. However, I was already working at a Huntington franchise center and could speak to its success. In addition, we both agreed that our business had to be something that we could be passionate about, Huntington fit that criteria, and continues to do so twenty-seven years later.

What was the biggest surprise when you opened your business?

It takes a great deal of work and focus. Possibly the real surprise is that I am still an owner. It was not my original goal to work and own a center for so long. However, I love the families and students. I continue to learn something each and every day.

What would you have done differently now that you know what you know?

I’m not sure there is too much I would do differently. Over time, I have certainly learned staffing is critical and that while building a solid team is vital, keeping an ineffective employee is not ever in the team or business’s best interest.

What’s the best thing about owning your own business?

The personal growth it provides, I have learned so much. In addition, I see the outcome of my hard work, in all areas of the business. I can impact change and make a difference for a staff member, student or myself.

What’s next for you?

For me, I am not at the point in my career where I am looking to expand any further.  However, I will always push to help as many students as possible, and enjoy every minute of doing so.