After retiring from the U.S. Army a couple of years back, Frank Garcia began been looking around for a business opportunity. This year, an intriguing possibility presented itself: opening a GNC store to sell vitamins and herbal, sports and nutritional supplements.
Frank and his wife, Rosa, took advantage of a GNC program that offers franchise-fee and inventory discounts to veterans. (He’s only the second veteran to be selected.) Meanwhile, GNC’s corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh was already eying Davidson as a potential location.
Their GNC Davidson store opened in early April at Davidson Commons (the Harris Teeter shopping center), off Griffith and Jetton streets.
“I wanted to find something, and this business always caught my attention,” said Mr. Garcia, who along with his wife is a native of Puerto Rico.
Ms. Garcia was actually already working for GNC, in a corporate-level job based at Quail Corners in Charlotte. When a company email went out inviting existing employees to buy franchises, they jumped at the chance.
GNC prefers to locate its small shops near big box and other established retailers. The company gave the Garcias a list of targets, and Harris Teeter was on it. And Davidson seemed a good location.
A visit sold them on the site at Davidson Commons, which is owned by Edens & Avant. “I grew up in a small town,” Mr. Garcia said. “When we got to Davidson, the appeal, the feel of the place was just right.”
Rosa Garcia is managing the store, with help from their son, Frank Jr.
Mr. Garcia retired from the military in 2009 after a 23-year career that included combat in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield (Saudi Arabia 1991), Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan (2006), and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2008). He actually works out of state, as a bilingual instructor teaching test pilot and aviation maintenance management at Fort Rucker, Alabama. The program is overseen by the U.S. State Department and his students come from throughout Latin America.
WHAT IS GNC?
GNC was founded in 1935. Its name once stood for General Nutrition Centers. The Pittsburgh-based company’s slogan is “Live Well.” It sells vitamin and minerals, herbal supplements, and sports nutrition, diet and energy products through a network of more than 7,200 shops around the world. More than 900 stores in the U.S. are locally-owned franchise stores, like one the Garcias own.
624 Jetton St., Suite 135
Davidson Commons (Harris Teeter) shopping center
Facebook: “GNC Davidson”
Hours: Mon-Fri 10-8, Sat 10-7, Sun 11-6