Posted 12/17/2012 12:00 am
Ashley Hill, the owner of Sylvan Learning franchises in Jonesboro, Memphis and Little Rock, recently opened a fourth location at 815 Hogan Lane, Suite 9, in Conway.
The expansion is part of an agreement for Hill, 32, to also open locations in North Little Rock and Hot Springs before the end of 2015.
Hill got her start with Sylvan as a tutor at the Jonesboro location a couple of years after graduating from Hendrix College in Conway with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
She quickly became the center’s director, and six years later, with capital from her in-laws and parents, she purchased the franchise just days before the previous owner planned to shut it down in June 2009.
In 2011, Hill took on the Memphis location, and just months later corporate offered her the opportunity to franchise the Little Rock territory. Along with the purchase came the agreement to open three more locations.
“I really had to do a lot of soul-searching because that’s a big deal,” Hill said. “I mean it really was a different direction than I saw my life going, but I’m starting to realize now that is just how life is.”
Another new course for Hill is the move from books to iPads, which are now used by her students with a teaching tool launched earlier this year called SylvanSync.
“Before SylvanSync, every time a student came to Sylvan you had to sit down with their binder, set their lesson plan, see how they did and decide what they did next. It was pretty laborious,” she said. “But with SylvanSync it’s all done intuitively by the system.”
While other learning centers haven’t been as quick to make the transition to SylvanSync, the corporate office has recognized Hill’s locations as early adopters of the program.
Opening a single Sylvan Learning center requires between $150,000 and $200,000 in working capital, Hill said. She warns of the risks of getting caught up in things that might sound good at the moment. “Don’t just spend money because you have it,” she said, “because then you won’t have it.”
Sylvan Learning is open from 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. For more information or to book an assessment, call (870) 203-0988 or visit MidSouthSylvan.com.