Coffee News® Profile – Lance Carrithers of Wichita, Kansas
Sometimes it’s time to make a change. That was true for Lance Carrithers of Wichita, Kansas who became a Coffee News publisher in June of 2015, after 26 years as a minister.
Prior to becoming a minister, Carrithers had built and managed a radio station. “I was familiar with advertisers and what they wanted. I knew that experience would serve me well in the Coffee News business,” he said.
From radio he went into the ministry. “My wife, Kristi and I were working with youth as volunteers. I felt called to the ministry so I returned to graduate school to get my Masters in Divinity and started my career at a United Methodist Church. My last job was as the Senior Pastor of the United Methodist Church in Dodge City, Kansas,” he said.
When asked how his years as a minister are serving him well in Coffee News Carrithers replied, “Ministry is all about customer relationships. My last church had 1,000 people so I was getting constant feedback from the customers in my church. In addition, I had to manage the business of the church including our finances, planning for growth and the day-to-day operations.”
When Carrithers decided it was time to make a career change, he began searching for the right opportunity. “I wanted to find something that I could do and work for myself. Then I saw a listing online for a Coffee News franchise that was for sale and I became interested,” he recalled.
That franchise was being sold by a publisher who was involved in another business and decided it was time to sell off his six franchise areas.
“My wife, Kristi and I met with the seller, and we talked to other Coffee News publishers and the people at the franchise headquarters, before making the decision to buy the business,” Carrithers said.
In June, 2015 the deal was complete and the Carrithers began publishing Coffee News.
In September of 2015, Carrithers attended his first Coffee News College in Bangor, Maine. The College is a three-day training program conducted by the Coffee News Head Office that provides new franchise owners with the information and training they need to be successful in the business.
“Since we purchased an existing franchise and going concern, we were already publishing when I went to the College. I learned what I was doing well and where I needed to make course corrections,” Carrithers said.
Purchasing a going concern has its share of opportunities and challenges according to Carrithers. “We purchased a business that was already known in the community and had an existing base of advertisers and distribution points. That is a great advantage. The challenge was not having time to really get to know the business. Our learning curve was steep and fast because the papers were already in production.”
Carrithers adds, “When you acquire a going concern, you have less control over the image of the business that has been around for a while and it’s harder to make changes as a new owner when people are used to things being a certain way.”
Those changes included increasing the distribution network of the publication and getting more papers out of the racks and into the hands of people.
“We are publishing seven editions and have 300 distribution points. Ideally, we would like to have 500 or more. We are also working to make our display racks more visible and add more contests to attract more readers and advertisers,” Carrithers said.
He is also working to build relationships with new and existing advertisers. “It can be hard to get in the door sometimes. We are in a large metropolitan area and I am really a ‘small fish’ by comparison. I am involved with BNI (Business Network International) and that helps,” he explained.
Carrithers is enjoying his new life as a Coffee News publisher. “It was time to do something else and, as hard as I am working now, I am not on-call 24/7 like I was in the ministry. After 26 years, it’s so nice to have evenings and weekends available to spend time with my wife and enjoying life,” he said.