By Dusty Ricketts
Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach.
FORT WALTON BEACH
The first class of Venture Hive, the veteran-owned business incubator program, is winding down and at least one of the businesses has decided to make Fort Walton Beach its new permanent home.
Mr.QuickPick, a roadside assistance company that offers jumpstarts, tire changes, gas delivery and vehicle unlocks, has announced plans to open a new training and support center in Fort Walton Beach.
“(Venture Hive) was a great opportunity that we were chosen for this,” said Jon Taylor, who owns Mr.QuickPick with his wife, Misty. “It was a dream come true. It’s helping us scale our company even faster.”
The Venture Hive program was brought to Fort Walton Beach to attract small veteran-owned businesses to the area and help them grow by offering their training, office space for a year and other services.
Initially Taylor will use the Venture Hive building on Brooks Street to host the new training center, but he said he planned to look for another location in the city.
The Taylors started Mr.QuickPick in 2006 in Louisville, Kentucky, after Jon got out of the Navy.
Dustin Gautney, program manager for Venture Hive, said Mr.QuickPick was a perfect business for the Venture Hive program.
“Mr.QuickPick had a proven track record for success, but needed the additional mentoring and resources to become a larger scalable company — possible of creating jobs and stimulating the region’s economy,” Gautney said.
Jon came up with the idea for the business while working as a manager of a Marriott hotel.
“Some of my guests were waiting hours for a jumpstart or a tire change and I’d go out there and give them a hand,” Jon said.
“That led me to deciding I can do this as my own as an entrepreneur. I’ve always wanted to start a business.”
The Taylors license their business concept to other veterans and individuals so they can open a Mr.QuickPick business in their own community. There are more than 40 Mr.QuickPick businesses around the country now.
Jon said they are in the process of finding a franchise attorney and he hopes to franchise the business next year.
“I just want to make sure this is available to any veteran out there,” Jon said.
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“They’re not employees. This is their own business, doing business as Mr.QuickPick.”