A Mission to Serve: Todd Recknagel and Kristi Mailloux are the 2024 Influencer for Husband & Wife Team MVPs
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A Mission to Serve: Todd Recknagel and Kristi Mailloux are the 2024 Influencer for Husband & Wife Team MVPs

A Mission to Serve: Todd Recknagel and Kristi Mailloux are the 2024 Influencer for Husband & Wife Team MVPs

Name: Todd Recknagel and Kristi Mailloux
Title: Managing Partners
Company: Three20 Capital Group
No. of units by brand: 95 Massage Envy, 60 Sola Salon Studios, 155 Office Pride
Age: Todd 60, Kristi 55
Family: John & Anjana, Max & Alana, Andrew, Katie, Sydney, and Trent
Years in franchising: 32
Years in current position: 9

Todd Recknagel and Kristi Mailloux are the Influencer for Husband & Wife Team MVPs (Most Valuable Performers) for demonstrating excellence in franchising as husband and wife. 

Todd Recknagel and Kristi Mailloux were raised by entrepreneurs. “We both watched our parents who owned their own businesses in different industries,” Todd explains. “My grandparents were also entrepreneurs,” he adds. The family influences offered both of them a vision and an opportunity to see the value that owning a business could provide. 

Todd’s grandmother was widowed at a young age and opened a gift shop to support her family. “It allowed her to have freedom and independence,” he recalls. “I experienced that without realizing what it meant, especially for a woman in the 1950s.” His other grandparents were early A&W franchisees, and his parents owned a group of pharmacies.

Kristi’s parents owned an HVAC business. She explains that growing up in that environment showed her the freedom and flexibility that owning your own business can bring. “We were growing up at the knees of the entrepreneurs who came before us,” she says.

Their fathers were salespeople for their respective family businesses, which taught Todd and Kristi the importance of community from a young age. “My dad knew so many people in the community, and he was of great value to the community,” Todd says, adding that he and his wife continue that spirit of giving back.

The pair are dedicated their faith community, including supporting a retreat to help pastors refocus and reconnect to their missions. Todd and Kristi also take part in a marriage ministry, helping married couples strengthen their relationships.

They’ve also supported other franchisees. Both have been speakers at franchise events. Todd is a longtime board member of the International Franchise Association and was chair of the IFA’s membership committee and Franchisee Forum.

Todd’s first job out of college was working for a franchisor. That’s when he first realized the value of franchising. “It helps so many people who may not be entrepreneurs at heart become business owners because of the proven model,” he says. His appreciation for franchising has only grown since then and has allowed the couple to scale their lives in better ways. As Kristi says, “Our dads had to figure it out on their own, but if they had franchises, they could have scaled their businesses at a much higher pace.”

MVP QUESTIONS

Why do you think you were recognized with this award? We’ve both been devoted to franchising for more than 30 years, serving many roles and being blessed with opportunities to lead many teams. We are honored to receive the Influencer for Husband & Wife Team MVP Award.

How have you raised the bar in your own company? We believe it’s extremely important to make sure our company leadership teams are focused on making our employees feel valued while focused on providing a great culture. This has helped to improve our company performance and led to greater profitability for our companies.

What innovations have you created and used to build your company? In some of the franchise systems, we’ve been large multi-unit franchisees. We have even been the largest multi-unit franchisee. We’ve built more sophisticated methods of operations and systems than the platforms offered by the franchisor. The franchisor has adopted some of the systems we developed. It is gratifying to be able to lead as a franchisee and add value to our franchise systems.

What core values do you think helped you win this award? We believe it is our passion for scaling business systems, adding value to our teams, and having faith and optimism in everything we do.

How important is community involvement to you and your company? We are involved in several communities, likely in a different way than you might think of community. Our companies are spread among 13 different states; yes, we’re involved in the local communities and charitable events. In addition, we are committed to the franchising community, trying to enhance and protect the franchising model, and we’re dedicated to the faith community, helping pastors and marriages. For example, we are using our talents to help organizations scale by serving as advisors for pastors’ retreat centers, trying to help the significant number of pastors who are burned out. We are involved in a marriage ministry that is helping improve marriages. Imagine our society without pastoral care and with the continued epidemic of broken marriages and families. Those are additional communities we serve.

What leadership qualities are most important to you and your company? A great Bible verse says, “Seek the Lord first and His righteousness and He will add everything else unto you.” We do our best to abide by this by seeking Him first, and culture, growth, and profits will follow. We want to be clear here that this is a daily focus that we strive to make sure we spend time on as we often get excited about something and get ahead of ourselves. It has been important to slow down and evaluate the opportunity by passing it through our filters (described earlier) while also hearing from God.

PERSONAL

Formative influences/events: Todd: Started in franchising in the early ‘90s as a Blimpie franchisee (largest multi-unit franchisee at the time) and area developer. Won the IFA’s Franchisee of the Year Award 25 years ago in 1999. I joined the IFA Board in 2002 and helped lead the IFA prayer breakfast, Franchisee Forum, and Franchisor Forum. I have been partnered with 10 franchisors and five multi-unit franchisees.

Kristi: My first job out of college was entry level at Molly Maid franchisor corporate headquarters, where I spent 20 years in multiple roles, learning from the ground up. I ended up leading Molly Maid during my last six years with the company, and it served as an amazing education because I was learning directly from successful franchisees and leaders of the company. Little did I know then, it would lead to a path pretty much for the remainder of my life/career of being both a multi-unit franchisee and franchisor.

Next big goal: Wherever God may lead us. We consider Him a partner in all of our decisions. We are considering lots of opportunities right now.

Hardest lesson learned: Pay God first, pay ourselves second, and then pay debt down third. Follow that formula and you will never run out of resources. We have had to relearn this in almost every company we have had.

Best advice you ever got: Know the difference between a want and a need.

Favorite book: Other than the Bible, Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins is still a favorite. The theories and formulas in that book are perfectly relevant for today.

What’s your passion in business? Helping our leaders further develop their skill sets to become all that God intended them to be.

MANAGEMENT

Business philosophy: It is kind of interesting. We have learned over time to develop filters regarding business characteristics that will help us say yes or no to a new opportunity. It should align with our vision and purpose, be a service or product we are passionate about, be a repeat/recurring model where possible, include partners that we like and trust, and have executives/team leaders who we genuinely enjoy being around.

Management method or style: We work to give our people the proper training and development to grow and then coach along the way to help them overcome challenges and celebrate successes. We have also been willing to move people on who refuse to be developed and turn into a cancer in our culture.

Greatest challenge: Todd: Leading myself and overcoming my challenges! Because I have been blessed to experience success, I have tendencies to be prideful or selfish. If I strive to value myself and, in turn, value others, then I need to be intentional about adding value to others and treating them as I would want to be treated. Overcoming myself is challenge one. Challenge two is building a great culture.

Kristi: Making sure we are adding value to our leaders, so we can build an attractive culture so recruiting and retaining great employees is never really an issue.

How close are you to operations? Todd focuses more on the finance and strategic leadership areas. Kristi is much more involved in leading our operational and marketing team members and goes deeper in those areas but is more behind the scenes in assisting our leaders.

How do you hire and fire, train and retain? We have helped create (with our leadership teams) a recruiting program in both our Sola Salons and Massage Envy groups. Those include adding innovative technology and resources that help our teams recruit team members who outperform the competition. We also focus heavily on retention. Both areas require constant attention, metrics tracking, and tweaking. 

COVID-19

What have been the biggest impacts of Covid-19 on your business? We live in a changing world and have been so proud of how our teams have navigated Covid, the Great Resignation, higher interest rates, high unemployment, low unemployment, and more.

BOTTOM LINE

Annual revenue: Approximately $125 million in Massage Envy, approximately $30 million in Sola, and approximately $100 million in Office Pride (franchisor-system sales).

Growth meter: How do you measure your growth? The typical metrics include revenue and EBITDA growth. In our Massage Envy group, our focus is on recruitment and retention. We have become the largest single employer of therapists and estheticians in the country. Our service providers have provided more than 20 million hours of healing to our clients, a staggering sum. In our Sola Salons group, occupancy and the success of our Sola pros. By focusing on our pros, occupancy takes care of itself. We are just blessed to be a part of these teams.

Vision meter: Where do you want to be in five years? 10 years? We hope to be able to take part in similar types of business opportunities, and we have no real plans to retire. Our business size may be more or less than today. What really matters is where God is leading us. 

What are you doing to take care of your employees? We believe in taking great care of our team members and value their health and wellness along with aligning their interests with ours. In our Massage Envy group, we have incentive bonuses, paid time off programs, healthcare, 401K, free monthly services (a best-in-class suite of benefits), and advancement opportunities to grow personally, like continuing education programs and leadership development. In our Sola Salons group, we provide similar opportunities for our team members.

What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? We do not plan to retire. However, having private equity partners with all our companies, we tend to be on their schedule for exit timing. We have a charitable trust and a foundation set up so that we can continue to invest in more companies as well as continue to do God’s kingdom work. We believe our God-given skill sets include being a multiplier of multipliers, which means adding value to leaders who impact many others and using our talents to help scale other organizations.

Published: May 31st, 2024

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