As tears well up in her eyes, Arby’s General Manager Crystal OConnor can’t quite put into words how grateful she and her husband are. Today, they’ll take their first steps into a brand new house, built for them by her employer of the last 17 years, Arby’s franchisee Brandicorp, the organization’s President Mike Brandy and her direct supervisor, Vice President Greg Cozzart.
It was months ago, back in the spring of 2018, when Crystal recalls having the conversation with Greg that sparked this life-changing moment.
“Greg has always treated people more like family than employees, so I felt comfortable talking to him about certain things.
We were chatting one day about me possibly owning a home and he said, ‘When you’re ready, come talk to me and we’ll figure a way to help you out.’ A few weeks later, I brought it up again, and it just kind of took off from there.” Crystal OConnor, General Manager, Arby’s
From that point forward, Greg was involved every step of the way, helping Crystal and her husband, Joe, as they started their search for homes in the surrounding Cincinnati, Ohio, area. When Crystal and Joe found an option they were interested in, Greg was there to make sure every detail of the house was right.
“We had looked at one home, but it wasn’t up to par,” she said.
“Greg said he wasn’t going to put us in a house that was going to give us problems.”
After searching for the right property, Crystal, Joe and Greg eventually settled on a completely new idea: What if the Arby’s franchisee built them a completely new home?
Greg ran with the idea, talking with a realtor and taking the couple to look at a plot of land. After meeting with a builder, Greg and his team put the process into action, all the way up to Friday’s emotional closing.
“Our managers put us in a position to be able to do things like this.
It’s about giving back to our employees and making sure they have everything they need. We want them to know they’ve got a place they can work at until they’re ready to retire and they’re working for a company that’s going to take care of them.” Greg Cozzart, Vice President, Brandicorp
Greg and Mike will fund the building of the home, and Crystal and Joe will refinance it a few years down the road.
For the Arby’s franchisee, this is a first in terms of building a home for a manager. But Brandicorp is accustomed to giving back to its employees in a variety of different ways.
“Every day we give back,’ Greg said.
“We’ve co-signed on loans and really just tried to help in whatever ways we can.”
While giving back to their employees might be normal for Mike and Greg after more than 30 years in the Arby’s system, Crystal is blown away by the Arby’s franchisee’s remarkable generosity.
“This means the world to us.
I’ve talked to people who work at other establishments and you just don’t find this anywhere other than at Arby’s and with their franchisees.” Crystal OConnor, General Manager, Arby’s