>Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, so I am very familiar with the region in which I am opening my new business.

Q: Before Franchising, what were you involved with?
A: Prior to partnering with Smart Tax, I was a Financial Advisor for 17 years. I worked most of my career in Brooklyn, which is where I met Nick Rizzi while working at the same firm. We built a strong working relationship and friendship over our long career together. Nick and I were always searching for our next venture and like most people, both of us dreamed of someday owning our own business. In light of the prolonged economic crisis and changes our industry was going through, Nick and I saw our careers coming to an inevitable end. Nick was insistent that whatever venture he’d pursue it had to be something more recession resistant than financial sales. In 2005, when Nick went out on his own and created Smart Tax, I applauded him for taking this risk and building Smart Tax from scratch. Nick and I stayed in close contact and one day I happened to pass by his Smart Tax storefront and I knew this was real and growing. In 2010 I had realized that I needed to take control of my career and discussed an opportunity to join Smart Tax. Nick hired me as the company’s Vice President of Franchise Development, with the goal of building the brand. I wanted to help take Smart Tax to the next level and help Nick grow our franchise system. Now, not only will I be helping to grow the brand on the corporate side but I will also be a first-time business owner in the Smart Tax system as a multi-unit franchisee.

Q: Why is this brand the right fit for you?
A: I am very excited to finally be a business owner after being in Corporate America for so many years. I wanted to join a franchise business and after extensive research, I feel that Smart Tax has the prime territories that other brands cannot offer and a corporate culture that is unmatched. This is not the same Corporate America all over again, with unnecessary rules and regulations holding us back. We understand what Corporate America is all about and we feel there is plenty of room for change in our industry. Smart Tax is a ground floor opportunity, where I have the ability to play a large role in a growing business. Because Smart Tax is a newly launched franchise, we listen to our franchisees and encourage a culture where we openly share ideas and foster creativity. It is a convergence of ideas and a great business to be a part of. Our goals are to provide better service to our clients that seek our help at tax time and a better opportunity for our franchisees to grow. In a word, Smart Tax is dynamic, and that’s what attracted me most.

Q: How do you see the brand connecting with your local community?
A: Because I have spent my whole life in Queens, I understand the community I will be serving with my Smart Tax business. At Smart Tax, we care about our clients and I want to give back as much as possible. I realize that tax time can be very stressful and confusing for most people. I want to build strong relationships with my clients and ultimately provide them with a better experience during the tax season. I am very active with my local Fire Department as a volunteer Firefighter as well as a Cub Scout Den Leader. I understand the value of giving back to the community and will reach out to local organizations throughout my territories to help in any way I can. Additionally, I plan to support Toys for Tots this year and secure a drop box at my Smart Tax office to help support the organization for the holidays. We will also be giving away large golf umbrellas to every client we work with to show our appreciation.

Q: What are your future goals? Development plans?
A: My near term goal is to have my Queens Center Mall location as the top producing store for Smart Tax. I want to be able to show potential franchisees how successful this business model really is. This tax season I want to reach at least 500 returns. In the long term, I have the rights to develop three locations and I’d like to see all three open, thriving and ultimately having our brand recognized for excellence and step above service.