The Dwyer Group, a Waco-based franchising powerhouse that has seen the combined sales of its companies grow to more than $1.4 billion, is dealing with its growth by building a $2.8 million training center on Bosque Boulevard near the Dwyer Group headquarters that will support nearly 75 jobs.

Crews should complete the construction project, which will include utility upgrades, a new parking lot and landscaping, by the end of next year.

The company received a city of Waco tax break of about $44,000 over five years as an incentive to build the three-story, 18,225-square-foot training center at 317 Bosque Blvd., adjacent to the company headquarters. The city will receive $106,000 in new property taxes on the property from the Dwyer Group during that time, said Melett Harrison, deputy director of housing and economic development for the city of Waco.

“The Dwyer Group obviously benefits and so does the city of Waco, which sees a fresh source of tax revenue,” Harrison said.

The company has pledged to retain 48 full-time jobs and create 26 new full-time jobs with benefits by Dec. 31, 2020, to meet the requirements of the incentive package, according to information released by the city.

The Dwyer Group also will retain at least 74 full-time jobs related to this expansion until Dec. 31, 2021, according to the city.

The company founded by the late Don Dwyer in 1981 has grown to become a holding company for 14 franchising brands, among them Mr. Appliance, Mr. Electric, Mr. Rooter, The Grounds Guys, Rainbow International and nine others. These companies have a presence in 11 countries and support 2,700 locations.

New franchisees and those receiving additional training often visit Waco to receive hands-on instruction at the Dwyer Group campus at 1010 N. University Parks Drive.

The Dwyer Group acquired three new companies this year, including Locatec, a leak-detection service with offices in Germany and Austria; Cumberland County Glass, a nonfranchised company that will complement Portland Glass; and Window Genie, a national company that provides an array of window services.

“This was another historic year for our organization,” Dwyer Group President and CEO Mike Bidwell said in a statement. “We grew to 11 countries, added new lines of business to our service trades, continued to build on our leadership position and were honored on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America.”

The company employs more than 600 people across North America and Europe, not counting the thousands employed by the local franchised businesses.

This year also marked the 25th anniversary of VetFran, a program launched by the founder to encourage military veterans to start their own companies.

$2.3 million in discounts

To date, the organization has awarded about $2.3 million in discounts to more than 400 veterans across brands backed by the Dwyer Group.

“Every accomplishment has reinforced our drive to grow and support the most compelling franchise opportunities in the home service industry and to scale that expertise on a global stage,” Bidwell said in his release. “This year is a wonderful testament to our team’s achievements.”

Since its founding, the Dwyer Group has changed hands three times, becoming part of The Riverside Company for a second time in 2014. In the wake of that sale, about 500 employees, including 270 in Waco, were given a share of $1 million distributed on the basis of time with the company.

Bidwell and Dina Dwyer- Owens, daughter of the founder and a longtime executive with the Dwyer Group, said in 2014 they expected Riverside to increase the company’s presence in foreign countries and to aggressively pursue additional franchise names. Acquisitions and expansions this year reportedly reflect that approach.

Riverside first bought Dwyer in 2003 and proceeded to take the previously publicly traded company private, expand its corporate headquarters on North University Parks Drive and pursue additional brands. After seven years of growth, it sold the Dwyer Group to New York-based TZP Brands Group, under which the company continued to flourish.

Still, in August 2014, TZP struck a deal to transfer majority ownership back to Riverside, with Dwyer-Owens calling the sales price “substantial.”

When the deal was struck, the Dwyer Group served as the holding company for seven brands, a number that has doubled in a little more than two years.

Meanwhile, combined sales have grown from about $1 billion to $1.4 billion since Riverside took over the Dwyer Group a second time.

The city’s Harrison said the Dwyer Group employs between 200 and 300 people at its Waco headquarters, but the number of training-related employees must stand at 48 for the tax incentive on the new facility to stand.

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