Lenny's News and Interviews
Sub commander A retired FedEx exec builds a mini sandwich empireJanuary 16, 2013
In 2004 Edith Kelly-Green was set tling into retirement. After almost 30 years with FedEx-ultimately serving as vice president and chief sourcing officer for Fed Ex Express at the com pany"s Memphis.Tenn.. headquarters her days consisted of waking up early. reading at Starbucks and working on the finances of several nonprofits.
A suggestion from her familyprompted Kelly-Green to consider open ing a Lenny's Sub Shop."My daughter was a college sophomore at the time and said.'I eat there all the time. You have to invest!'" she remembers. "I knew the CEO and called h!m.thinking I'd just invest some capital. But he convinced me I'd be happier as a franchisee.
She bought her first location near her alma mater.Ole Miss in Oxford.Miss..and in the last six years has added nine more stores near her Memphis home. But her sandwich empire hasn't been about making money though she does that well or about a second act. Instead. Kelly-Green got into the game hoping that her multi-unit business. the largest in the Lenny's chain, would help her family and
I wasn't bored in retirement in the least." she says. "I just saw thisas an opportunity toown a business and to cre ate a legacy.To have something to pass along to my children. whether they want to main tain it or sell. But the overarch ing effect is that it gives me the chance to support people. It gives the citizens of Memphis a template. It encourages them to be in business for them selves.and to strive to be more than minimum-wage workers.
WHY DID YOU GO FOR MULTIPLE UNITS? After I opened my first unit in Oxford. I decided I didn't want to be a one-location owner.I wanted to own enough so when decisions are made at least I would be consulted.If I was just one location out of 150. that wouldn't be the case. Not that I want veto power or anything.but if something major is going on. I want to get a phone call. I'm impacted by deci
sions more than single-unit owners.
WHAT ROLE DOES YOUR FAMILY PLAY?
My daughter.Jayna. who initially got me involved with Lenny's.will be graduating from medical school in 2013.so she's no longer involved-though she can make a sandwich if she has to.But my two sons, James Kelly and Ryan Green. are work ing full-time in the business. I've tried to loosely split the stores. but our roles overlap.The thing about a franchise is. once you solve one problem. you can apply it through all10 stores. so there's lots of communication about how we're handling things.
WHAT'S YOUR LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY?
I try to create a sense of encouragement for employees and make them feel like they can own their own stores or manage multiple stores.I try to create a vision or a sense of opportunity for others.And
I always want to create as many tax paying citizens as possible. I don't own these businesses to pay off a mortgage; I'm financially secure.So I can be more lenient with employees. Fed Ex taught me how important training is and how important good employees are.When someone messes up. I have to ask myself."How well were they trained?" I can afford to give people second chances. and sometimes third. Sure. I've been burned several times. But I've been surprised several times.too.
HOW HAS BEING A CPA HELPED YOU RUN A FR ANCHISE?
As an accountant at FedEx. it gave me the ability to see the business overall. Everything eventually comes through accounting.At my franchises. I have to account for every penny. I look at the numbers every day;if there's a devia tion.I investigate right away. Many entrepreneurs have great ideas. but most don't want to deal with administrative tasks like sales taxes and payroll deposits.Those details are the downfall of many small businesses.I'm maybe more comfortable with that. Most people just don't like dealing with numbers.
Contact Lenny's Public Relations:Jenna Duett
Marketing and PR Manager