Title: "It Was Time for Something Different"
Press Release body:
Starting over with a franchise business
By Ted Escobar
The Bridge TV Guide
ELLENSBURG - As Jerry Alldredge neared his 30th year in education, he started to feel the onset of "teacher burnout." It was time to consider a new course in life.
"I didn't want to be a teacher who hung on too long," he said recently. "It was time for me to do something different."
After looking at several ideas, Alldredge settled on a business that took advantage of skills developed in a life-long photography hobby. He opened a Home Video Studio franchise in his home in 2011.
But Alldredge didn't drop education entirely. He asked for and received a diminished work schedule at school. That allowed for a transition period between education and the new venture.
"It takes a while to grow a business," he said.
An elementary teacher-librarian, Aldredge went to a half-time schedule at Mt. Stuart Elementary. The school district recently offered him a new schedule whereby he will put in fewer than 10 hours a week. He will work from 12:20-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday with kindergarten students to allow their teachers planning time.
"I'm crossing my fingers I'll be able to go full time with the business next year," he said.
One reason Alldredge set up the transition period is that he knew absolutely nothing about business. That was the same reason he chose a franchise instead of going it alone.
"It comes neatly packaged," he said.
The packaged business didn't take up a lot of space. Alldredge set it up in a room that has always been an office.
With Home Video Studio, Alldredge offers 20 services he delineates on the back of his business card. He offers some not on the on the card, and he'll likely offer some he hasn't thought of yet.
"We have a training week two times a year where we learn new ideas," he said.
Home Video Studio headquarters is in Indianapolis, where it was launched in the 1990s. Alldredge can call the CEO directly and have a chat.
"It's fun when we go to the convention," he said, "We all know each other. We learn from each other."
A native Washingtonian, Alldredge started his education career in Boardman, Oregon. He's been at Mt. Stuart the last 20 years. He was an adjunct professor at the Central Washington University education department for 12 years.
Aldredge had heard about teacher burnout during his teacher training classes. Later he saw it in some long-time teachers. Then he was faced with it.
Needing a change, Aldredge started looking at possibilities. He Google searched a listing of franchise businesses and even considered ones related to education and home improvement.
"I'm not bad at building," he thought.
Then he ran into the category of video and related endeavors.
"Well, that's something I like to do," he said.
Alldredge was just a child when he snapped his first picture with the family camera. By sixth grade he had his own camera. He acquired his own darkroom setup while attending Snohomish High School.
"I've taken it with me everywhere I've moved," he said. "All I had to do is take out and set it up."
Using his cameras and darkroom and computerization, Alldredge made Christmas gifts for family and friends, calendars to give away and custom Valentines cards for family, friends and colleagues. Those usually featured him doing something goofy.
"It got to where people couldn't wait for my next Valentines card," he said.
Thinking seriously about Home Video Studio, Alldredge called his financial advisor and asked him to research it. The advisor said the cost - very low compared to a McDonald's - was right and that it was a solid company.
Then came a stroke of good fortune - and love. Learning of his plans, Alldredge's parents gave him some money they said they'd probably never use.
It was enough to pay half of the initial franchise fee. He borrowed the rest and money for the necessary equipment from a bank.
Home Video Studio Indianapolis trained Alldredge and instructed him on the equipment he needed. But there were a couple of proprietary pieces of equipment from the company, including the main video transfer machine called DVD Deluxe.
Alldredge was ready to go to work, and he's been working ever since. He got the word out by advertising in the Daily Record and still does so regularly. He put up a website and has a presence on Facebook.
"It was really slow at first," he said. "I got maybe one call a week and no calls some weeks. Now I get calls every day."
The good thing about the calls, Alldredge said, is that the people calling already have it in mind to use his services. Mostly they want to know the logistics and cost of their projects.
"Some say they'll call back, and they usually do," Alldredge said.
In a nutshell, Home Video Studio helps customers improve film or video from the past and preserve it on DVD. Another service has Alldredge videotaping important events and editing for best viewing later.
"A woman brought me a video Uncle Fred took of her wedding," Aldredge recalled. "It had 15 minutes of people's feet because Uncle Fred put the camera down while it was still taping. And he missed the father-daughter dance entirely."
Working with the woman, Aldredge edited the video down to its presentable segments. Then he added still photographs of the father-daughter dance with the song to which they had danced.
Alldredge will do the same with old 8, super 8 and 16 millimeter family films. He "cleans them up" and reproduces them in DVD. He also transfers video from cell phones to other usable formats.
Kittitas Middle School had two undefeated (10-0) teams this year. Alldredge has been contracted to put together highlight videos of the season for the team banquets.
One of Alldredge's favorite assignments was the video taping of a couple - both in their 90s - telling their life stories.
"Their daughter-in-law contacted me," Alldredge said. "She said the family enjoyed their stories so much they didn't want to lose them, and grandpa had cancer."
Alldredge enjoyed that job immensely. He really "got into" their stories. The woman was part of the Sparks family for which Sparks Road in the Easton area was named.
"They moved there when there really wasn't an Easton," Alldredge said.
Another project involved a piece of paper an area family owns that has Abraham Lincoln's signature. They wanted it recorded so they could send it away for authentication.
"If it's real, I've held Abe Lincoln's signature in my hands," Alldredge said. "I took out the white gloves for that one."
A woman recently brought Alldredge about 40 rolls of 8 millimeter film of her family in the 1950s. Alldredge's task is to edit and transfer it all to DVD accompanied by 1950s music. It will be done in such a way that the owner can view specific episodes with a click.
Alldredge is the midst of a project for Kittitas County Historical Museum. It has about 30 audio tapes done around 1950 of people who were old-timers then. Some are in the Native American language of this region. Alldredge expects to complete the transfer of these tapes to CD in about a month.
Needless to say, Alldredge is "newly energized."