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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 24, 2022 5 months ago

Commercial cleaning firm, at a critical juncture, puts faith in new leader

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With a fresh breeze of private equity capital in its sails and a newly minted CEO at the helm, Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services prepares to enter a major growth phase.
by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services founder Todd Hopkins spent the past 30 years building the Palm Harbor company into one of the nation’s leading franchisors of commercial cleaning businesses — at present, it has 148 franchises in 25 states. Now, on the heels of a transformational private equity investment, he’s stepping away, giving way to new CEO Josh Weis.

Hopkins will remain with Office Pride in a newly created role — chief visionary officer — that’s focused on long-term strategy. Meanwhile, Weis, 40, will require little to no hand-holding as he settles in. The Tampa native most recently served as executive vice president of privately held Knoxville, Tennessee-based Ministry Brands, which, during his tenure, grew to become “the biggest church technology company in the world,” he says, with satellite offices in Tampa, Dallas, Memphis and San Diego. “We grew to become a 10-figure business.”

Weis’s background in a faith-based business made him an ideal fit for Office Pride, whose organizational culture and principles are reflected in the beliefs of Hopkins, a devout Christian who’s written and published several self-help books about the intersection of faith and work.

“Todd and I connected through a group called Christian Business Men’s Connection,” Weis says. “I have a ton of respect for Todd. I appreciated his leadership style, and we had a good number of people that we both admire, that we had as mutual connections.”

That was six years ago, at which time Weis says Hopkins courted him to be part of the succession plan at Office Pride, “but the timing just didn’t work out.”

Fast-forward to December 2021, when Coral Gables-based Trivest Partners took a majority ownership stake in Office Pride, with a goal of growing the company’s franchise units to at least 300 and systemwide sales to more than $300 million over the next five years. Weis says that seismic development prompted Hopkins to again approach him about becoming the firm’s next leader.

“Owning and operating a business for close to 30 years — that’s a long time,” Weis says, “and every founder has to, at some point, think of what’s the right way to proceed from a succession-planning perspective.”

Given Trivest’s growth targets, Weis will face a great deal of pressure, from the get-go, to deliver the goods. How will he reward Hopkins’ faith in him?

First, he’ll have a top-notch team supporting him. Well before Weis’s arrival, Office Pride made several key hires to fill out its C-suite in Palm Harbor, including COO Patrick Durkee and CFO Jeff McMullen.

“Those were key talent upgrades that have happened over the past two, three years,” Weis says. “It’s set us up well for the future — the leadership team that’s here now is really solid.”

Also, thanks to Trivest’s backing, Weis will have the latitude to pursue a host of both organic and inorganic growth opportunities. Although he declines to disclose specific revenue figures, he says sales grew by 15% from 2020 to 2021 and he expects growth to easily surpass that in 2022, adding, “$300 million in system sales — that could happen sooner than later.”

Although the COVID-19 crisis created staffing headaches for some Office Pride franchisees, one of the pandemic’s lasting effects is a renewed emphasis on workplace cleanliness — which should bode well for the company’s bottom line.

Yet the primary challenge facing Weis is one of Office Pride’s own making: its pickiness, you could say. “I don’t how else to say it,” he says. “We have high standards and expectations.”

For a values-based company like Office Pride, Weis adds, cultural fit is of paramount importance when it comes to acquisitions and bringing in new franchisees.

“If we can find like-minded and culturally aligned companies, that would be key, but everything we're doing is about growth,” he says. “Everything is on the table, but we’re not specifically looking at distressed companies and turnaround deals. In a perfect world, they're going to be growth companies that are healthy and run well, but more importantly, as much as they can fit our cultural and core values, the better.”

Finding more than 150 companies and franchisees who fit the Office Pride mold won’t be easy, but Trivest’s capital injection will allow Weis and his team to pounce when they do run across potential expansion opportunities.

“We don’t have financial obstacles,” Weis says. “We're capable, financially, to move quickly and have a capable deal team working behind the scenes, whereas if someone else tried to do this on their own, it might take them four, five, six months … we can do it one or two months.”

(This story has been updated to note that Office Pride recently expanded its leadership team with another top executive, CFO Jeff McMullen.) 

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