SPRINGFIELD – In an era in which nonprofit organizations all go after the same grants and funding sources, Human Resources Unlimited (HRU) President and CEO Don Kozera said his agency, which serves people who struggle to overcome obstacles such as disabilities and poverty, needed a new revenue stream.
The organization took the unusual move of seeking a franchise business it could buy and set up a for profit venture.
The result, Kozera said to Reminder Publications, is an operation that is environmentally beneficial, profitable and provides some of their clients with a work opportunity.
Kozera was at the Grey House in the city’s North End to clean carpets, a service that was being donated to the fellow nonprofit. As the technicians prepared the carpets to be cleaned, he explained the Zerorez system doesn’t use any detergents, but instead uses electrically charged salt water to clean carpets, tile and wood floors and granite counter tops.
He said the patented technology was developed originally to clean up oil spills. The hi-tech approach to the company includes the ability to book jobs and see the progress of appointments all through a cell phone app.
“The technology behind it is revolutionary,” he said.
He added the cleaning process is ideal for people with allergies.
What HRU has done is fairly unique. There are only 200 non-profits in the nation that have taken the route of establishing a for-profit franchise business to support the organization’s goals.
Kozera said the process was “exhaustive.” HRU looked at 600 possible franchise businesses and narrowed the list down to 60. Then the list was cut down to three possibilities.
“We did a lot of due diligence,” Kozera said. He added with a smile “We picked the least sexy one.”
He explained traditionally franchise businesses were not open to selling a franchise to a corporation, but rather to a person, but attitudes are changing. Kozera said more and more businesses are considering nonprofits as well as millennials.
Sue Mastroianni, Grey House board member thanked Kozera and said, “Grey House would not survive without volunteers, without people or companies who help do the work they do in this neighborhood.”
The Zerorez business opened for HRU on March 1. For more information on the company’s service call 533-9370 or go to www.zerorezpioneervalley.com.