‘Can’t Shy Away From Challenging Business Climates’: Griswold, BrightStar Care Share Top 2024 Priorities

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As the demand for home care grows, so do the industry’s largest providers. In particular, franchises are expanding rapidly across the country, adjusting operations slightly along the way.

BrightStar Care and Griswold Home Care are two examples of that growth. Both companies earned spots on Franchise Times’ annual ranking of the largest franchise systems in the country.

This year, BrightStar Care signed almost 40 franchise deals, and 17 owners expanded into 28 new territories across the U.S.


“It’s a year where we welcomed a lot of new franchisees on board, but we’ve seen a lot of our existing owners expand,” Pete First, chief development officer at BrightStar Care, told Home Health Care News. “That’s a strong testament to the brand and to where things are going in the future.”

Chicago-based BrightStar Care is a provider of home care and supplemental staffing. The organization has more than 380 locations nationwide. It also has a senior living portfolio.

On its end, Griswold Home Care saw 12 franchise sales in 2023, and expanded into five new territories.


“We’ve exceeded our goals in network same-store sales and year-over-year growth,” Griswold CEO Michael Slupecki told HHCN. “We look at growth in two different ways, the top line, with the network as a whole. We also look at the percentage of the network that grew year-over-year versus the percentage of the network that had a decline year over year. We were happy to have exceeded our goals.”

The Blue Bell, Pennsylvania-based Griswold provides home care services in 30 states. The company has more than 160 locations.

More than half of Griswold’s new franchise sales have been in the state of California. It’s a market that is considered both fruitful and challenging due to its wage and hour laws, according to Slupecki.

“It’s the sixth or seventh largest economy in the world, and there’s certainly a vast population of seniors that need our services,” he said. “We can’t just shy away from business climates that are challenging. We just have to figure it out, and be there for our clients.”

In general, the regulatory climate and senior population are factors that weigh heavily on Griswold’s decision to pursue expansion in a specific market.

Additionally, the company has seen the value in focusing on what are known as “secondary markets.”

“We prefer a secondary market over what some people call a primary market,” Slupecki said. “We see a lot of saturation in the major metropolitan areas, so focusing on smaller markets is appealing to us.”

For BrightStar Care, its entrance into new markets has been the result of research and strategic planning.

“We look at the demographics and where the demand is,” First said. “We have key markets and key states, like Washington State, that we’re looking to expand into. We also take a network strategy approach – [we look at] franchise development, look at the open markets, and we also work with our national accounts team, and we work with our operations team.”

BrightStar Care’s growth coincides with its focus on clinical outcomes data.

“It has allowed us to really prove the outcomes of what we’re able to do, and that continues to attract interest from not only consumers, but other payer sources from national accounts,” First said. “Being able to provide some of these clinical studies that we’ve done has given us an advantage, and our franchisees an advantage, because we can actually prove what we’re doing. That’s provided a lot of opportunity for growth.”

At Griswold, much of the focus has been on rebranding to embrace innovation.

“We felt like our other former brand was a little bit dated,” Slupecki said. “How could we talk about being a forward-thinking innovative company, when you look at the brand and it looks a little bit dated?”

In particular, Griswold has increased focus on things like caregiver engagement utilities and client monitoring technologies.

More broadly, Slupecki also believes that the company has “a different level of energy” in recent years. This has translated into a slightly more hands-on approach with the company’s franchise owners.

“Every franchise is an independently-owned and operated business, so each franchise could have something that’s specific and unique to them that’s either helping them grow or holding them back,” he said. “Our operations team is really problem solving, and helping them optimize their business.”

In addition to its franchise locations, BrightStar Care also has a number of company-owned locations. These locations continue to be a vital tool when it comes to testing new technologies, marketing strategies, payer sources and more.

One example of this is BrightStar Care’s ability to test automation and AI.

“We’ve been able to integrate and test some of those features, which are going to provide great benefit for new franchisees, whether they have one location, or they have multiple locations,” First said. “It’s about being able to streamline and become more efficient with some of the day-to-day tasks.”

BrightStar Care still sees some key markets in both the Northeast and the Midwest.

“Even though Brightstar care has been around for 20 years, we still have territories that are available and open where we know that providing new franchisees into that market will be a definite asset to the community,” First said.

Ultimately, Griswold is looking to continue raising the bar at its organization.

“Resetting the expectations around care and delivery of services — making sure we’re all aligned in what we’re trying to do – is critical,” Slupecki said.

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