Big Frog Gives Veteran Support and Gives Back to Edwardsville Community
Looking for a new career, Jeremy Colton wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to do. It was 2013 and this former human resources manager knew he’d basically have to “buy a job,” as he quipped with his wife, Emily. He just had to figure out if he wanted to start a business from scratch or explore a franchise concept.
Franchising won out and, through a franchise broker who helped narrow Jeremy’s focus with aptitude tests, interviews, and proofs of concept for various brands, Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More delivered everything Jeremy was looking for in a small business. Jeremy has owned and operated Big Frog in Edwardsville, Ill. since 2013, hitting the ground running in January 2014.
“I like to work with a physical thing,” Jeremy said. “Big Frog checked all the boxes and I really like seeing customers create something that’s their very own and walk out of my shop happy.”
Hire a Veteran
What’s his secret to longevity and successfully making it through the last couple of COVID downturn years?
“Hire a veteran,” Jeremy says. “Kris Duhachek has been my store manager since I opened, and I could not have a better partner. He came to us with all this training from the military and I get to benefit from that 100 percent.”
And with Veterans Day approaching, what better time to count the many ways Jeremy, Kris, and their Big Frog shop support the military.
Kris takes the lead partnering with a local veteran’s charity called Support Up Veteran Ventures, which helps veterans decompress and destress with outdoor activities from hiking to going on hunting or fishing trips. Big Frog uses t-shirts to raise funds for Support Up along with the nearby St. Louis non-profit The Kaufman Fund, which provides food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and other basic needs to veterans and children to thank and support veterans. Jeremy will also participate on the ground floor of a new venture the Edwardsville American Legion is launching, Gifts for Yanks, a holiday gift initiative for military veterans.
Big Frog Gives Back
“Giving back is huge for me and I knew upfront I could do charitable things if I worked for myself,” Jeremy said. “I’m big into one-to-one meetings in general and networking organizations like Business Network International are important to me. I also enjoy speaking and giving presentations on franchising and other business opportunities to local high school students.”
He’s also been known, when he learns a teacher is paying for class t-shirts out of her own pocket, to just comp those shirts. It’s part and parcel of the “un-frog-ettable” way the brand designs custom t-shirts and supports the local communities in which franchisees live, work, and play.
“It’s important to me to have high integrity and just do the right thing. I never want a classroom, a teacher, or a member of the community to miss out on the opportunity for a creative, fun, personalized t-shirt to celebrate a milestone or significant event. It’s just the way I operate.”
To mark the upcoming Veterans Day holiday on Thursday, Nov. 11, Big Frog in Edwardsville will offer a free second print – like adding a flag or a branch logo – on any purchase for any veteran showing military ID.
Shop Local All the Way
Big Frog of Edwardsville also supports veteran-owned small businesses through its “Shop Local All the Way” campaign, which gives small businesses opportunities to win prizes for their business through the Shop Local nomination. To nominate a veteran-owned small business, visit BIGFROG.COM/SHOP-LOCAL.
Plus, catch Jeremy and Kris on this special “Shop Local All the Way Interview” wherein they share what’s it like to lead and manage a small business, like Big Frog.Back