From Layoff to Successful Business Owner – Meet O. J. Flowers

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Dana and OJ Flowers A layoff is often a devastating situation.  For some individuals, however, getting laid off is the best thing that ever happened to them.  O.J. Flowers worked in the banking industry along with his wife and father.  In February of 2008, the struggling economy caused the construction lending department of the bank to shut down.  The closing of their department resulted in all three family members getting laid off – a story reflected so often during the recession.  Today, a little over a year later, Flowers is a successful entrepreneur with the opening his first Hungry Howie’s franchise.

How did he go from layoff to successful business owner?  Going from the banking industry and getting laid off, to owning a business was a huge leap.  “I first came across Hungry Howie’s pizza while visiting relatives in Ohio in 2007.” remembered Flowers, “Not being much of a pizza crust eater, I was very impressed by the crust.”  After returning to Georgia from their visit, he and his wife discovered that there were no Hungry Howie’s in their area.  The thought of the restaurant remained in the back of his mind while the family continued to work at the bank.

When Flowers received the news of the lay off on Friday, he remembered Hungry Howie’s, and started putting his plan together the very next Monday.  Flowers took classes on entrepreneur development.  The 12 week course helped him to learn everything he needed to know about running a business. Flowers and his wife opened their first Hungry Howie’s in Lilburn, Georgia.  The husband and wife duo, once struggling with being laid off, are now planning an expansion to over 15 locations in the next three to five years. 

How did the layoff change Flowers? It’s not just about building a restaurant.  The Flowers have also been well received within the community.  Their Hungry Howie’s Pizza Restaurant was selected to provide the summer school lunch program for the local schools.  “Looking back, being laid off was one of the best things that ever happened to me.” stated Flowers, “It’s the chance to do something we always dreamed of doing.”  One of the mottos he keeps in mind is that “a positive attitude will produce positive results”. 

Flowers has words of advice to anyone that has been laid off.  “Don’t look at it as a negative,” suggests Flowers.   Being laid off does not have to end your career, Flowers has shown that being laid off can be just the beginning of your dreams.