Local Educators and Parents Sign on to Bring Three Lightbridge Academy Locations to the Columbus Area

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When Ben and Allison Kraft discovered Lightbridge Academy, the couple immediately felt connected to the brand’s Circle of Care philosophy and community-driven core values.

Over the last two decades, early education and child care franchise Lightbridge Academy® has expanded far beyond its home state of New Jersey, establishing a strong presence in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. As the brand continues its impressive growth this year, Lightbridge Academy has entered several markets for the first time. Most recently, the team celebrated a multi-unit signing in the bustling city of Columbus, Ohio.

Allison and Ben Kraft are the husband-and-wife duo behind the signing. Allison has been a special education teacher for 12 years, and Ben is a long-time chiropractor. As working parents of three daughters at home, The Krafts understood how hard it could be to find the right child care fit. After seeing a need for a child care service in Columbus that focuses not only on education but all areas of development, the two decided to look into opening a center of their own.

“We wanted a business that would allow us to be very involved in the community,” said Allison. “We also personally know the struggle of finding good child care as parents. It can be challenging to find a model that focuses on molding good humans and education. It seems most facilities only focus on education. I love children, and I truly believe that learning starts young. But Lightbridge Academy has a Circle of Care philosophy that places equal importance on the needs of children, their families, teachers, center owners and the community. I want to help to grow little people and lead by example to help them to become successful members of the community.”

The Krafts looked into several franchise brands in the child care franchise space, but Lightbridge Academy stood out right away. “I love that Lightbridge Academy is very involved in the community and focuses on the character development of children,” said Allison. “We talked to some other big names in the child care industry, and their programs just didn’t appeal to me. We had actually used some of the other programs in the past with our own children, so we knew how parents perceived them. When Ben and I went to New Jersey to see how a Lightbridge Academy is run, we could tell the parents in the community would love the brand as much as we did.”

Ben notes that the more they learned about Lightbridge Academy, the more they knew it was the right fit for their particular skill sets. “As owners of a child care center, we are focusing on the kids and making the community better — we want to be a positive light in the community,” he said. “I think that parents will really appreciate that Allison has a background in child care and education, and I have a background in the medical field. We’re also parents ourselves, so we bring a unique perspective as owners.”

Overall, Ben says the duo is most excited to bring a family and community-oriented brand to the people of Columbus. “When a Lightbridge Academy goes into a community, it makes it better,” he said. “Allison and I lost our son five years ago when he was six years old — our family means everything to us, and we love the idea of owning a business that nurtures and develops young children and supports the community. We have run a non-profit for the past five years helping families that lose a child. We pay for counseling for the families, help with funeral costs and emergency expenses, and stay in touch with the families to help them through their grief. Owning a child care facility feels like the right move for us to be a part of the community and be part of a positive experience in the kids’ lives.”

This community-driven passion also aligns with the values of Lightbridge Academy. The brand’s 501(c)(3) non-profit organization Lightbridge Foundation® has raised over $1 million to support children and working parents in the communities it serves and beyond.

The Krafts signed on for three locations initially but said further growth is not out of the question. “Once we get those running, we would be interested in expanding in the future,” said Allison. “We really want to focus on opening our first three locations and ensuring those locations are operating to the highest of standards.”

CEO of Lightbridge Academy Gigi Schweikert believes Allison and Ben are the perfect fit to expand the Lightbridge brand in the Columbus area.

“We’re excited to partner with Allison and Ben in Columbus. They share our core values and will bring the Lightbridge Academy Circle of Care® philosophy to life,” said Schweikert. “By placing equal importance on the needs of children, their families, staff, and center owners, the entire community benefits. As the company continues to grow in new markets, we are looking forward to supporting even more children and families and making a real difference with the partnership of engaged and passionate franchisees like the Krafts.”

For more information on single or multi-unit franchising opportunities with Lightbridge Academy, visit https://lightbridgeacademyfranchise.com/multi-unit/.

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Lauren Turner
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