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Business owner shares keys to launching new venture amid pandemic

"The foundation is trust. We provide a valuable service."
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Posted at 4:45 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 16:51:06-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Starting a business in the middle of a pandemic might be scary for some people, but Michele Dean, owner of Ace Handyman and Blue Frog Plumbing and Drain, says it's all about perspective.

Dean confidently launched her Blue Frog Plumbing and Drain franchise last June.

"Life is uncharted. You go from one opportunity to another opportunity, and somehow you find the things that are going to suit you best," said Dean.

In 2014, Dean took a leap of faith and opened her handyman franchise.

"I had been in corporate America for 29 years," Dean said. "I loved what I did, but at the end of the day, my babies turned into teenagers while I was working," she added.

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Dean has created a life she says she loves. She has more time at home with her family, and she gets to bring the family's three greyhounds to the office everyday.

"We call it corporate security," Dean said.

Before opening ACE Handyman, Dean had no background in the trade industry. But she did have a lot of experience in customer service. She says she took what she knew and focused on delivering it exceptionally.

"The foundation is trust. We provide a valuable service," she said.

ACE Handyman has been so successful that Dean started her second franchise, Blue Frog Plumbing and Drain in the middle of the pandemic. She says she didn't think twice about the timing.

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"Think of it this way, optimists tend to be successful, pessimists tend to be right," she said. "Here is the thing with plumbing, everybody needs a plumber, everybody needs a good plumber on speed dial, and everybody needs a plumber that you like and trust, and that's what Blue Frog is all about," Dean explained.

It's a career path that she never imagined taking, but she knows she is in the right industry.

"I think women are better business owners when it comes to the trades, and it's because women are more sensitive to the customer experience," she said. "I think I do better here than I've ever done working in the corporate world because I get to be my boss. I'm not sure that I'm going to retire. This is what I do," Dean added.

She says she is working on another plan to open a new business in the next five years.

Virginia Together: The Rebound Richmond campaign is here to help. Find information on who is hiring, investigations into unemployment payment issues, financial advice on making ends meet, and mental health advice on managing the pressures. These stories will be featured often on CBS 6 News and can be found by clicking this link.

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