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Family Affair: How JDog Owner Ray Gagnon Created a Family Business

For many men and women serving in the military, it is not easy to spend as much time with family as they would like.

Ray Gagnon, a veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 25 years, has found a lucrative way to make up for lost time with family by teaming up with them as JDog Junk Removal & Hauling franchisees, joining the trend of veteran-owned businesses. Ray, who founded and serves as president and chief consultant of Business Operational Success Systems Inc., or BOSS, a global provider of business and performance improvement programs, wanted a business he could pass on to his sons and was attracted to JDog’s commitment to veterans.

He, along with his wife Robin and sons Kyle and RJ, opened JDog Junk Removal & Hauling in the Capitol Region territory of New York in April 2016. The Gagnon family is adhering to JDog’s dedication to increasing post-military career opportunities for veterans by hiring fellow vets in their community.

A Family Effort

Ray, a former master gunnery sergeant, oversees his JDog Junk Removal & Hauling business, which operates out of Schenectady. Robin, an optician with more than 30 years of experience managing optical businesses, serves as office manager. She is the face of the business, working with customers, managing operations, scheduling appointments and employees, bookkeeping and other duties. Kyle, 23, who is working toward gaining partnership status, is the general manager. He runs the day-to-day junk removal and hauling operations, which includes leading the crews. RJ, 24, is working toward a masters degree in education with plans on becoming a college professor, and fills in when needed.

“It’s been great,” Ray said about working with his family. “I spent 25 years in the Marine Corps, so I wasn’t always around. There was a good portion of my sons’ lives when I wasn’t readily available.”

Not only is working as a family strengthening bonds and affording more time together, it is also proving to be a model for success. Since opening just eight months ago, the Gagnons have grown their JDog from a one-truck and one-trailer operation to a three-truck and three-trailer fleet, and have added a number of storage sheds to accommodate all the junk removal and hauling they are doing.

“We have very big visions for the business,” Ray said, adding that it includes being the premiere junk hauling business in this entire area. “Every single day we work hard to accomplish that. We’ve already expanded.”

Inspiring New Generations of Entrepreneurs

Similar to many franchise owners who want to pass their business on to their children, Ray and Robin’s vision includes providing Kyle with a greater stake in JDog Junk Removal & Hauling Capital Region and making him a full-fledged owner. The purchase of the franchise has awakened an entrepreneurial passion in Kyle that was not there before. Ray said Kyle’s enthusiasm for the brand and for providing job opportunities to military veterans and family members of veterans has his son thinking big picture. It is reflected in Kyle’s enthusiasm, Ray said.

“Kyle dove in head first—there was no recruiting necessary. We told him we’d love to have him build the business with us,” Ray said. “For Kyle, it has opened his eyes to business opportunities. It’s helped him understand how businesses work. His aspiration is to own multiple businesses like his mother and I do. He’s thinking about this business – how to build it, how to grow it and how to create the assets he needs to open other businesses. Being involved in the family business has given him the entrepreneurial bug.”

To Ray, family includes more than his wife and sons, however – it is also his fellow military veterans and their families whom he is eager to hire.

“My big thing was I always looked out for my Marines, I always looked out for my people,” he said. “After 25 years, I probably got pretty darn good at it. I wanted to help veterans, I wanted to find a company that provides business opportunities for veterans, that gets them started owning a business or by providing employment.”

Learn more about becoming a JDog Junk Removal & Hauling franchisee here.