Former Boy Scout Micah Maffeo Aims to Bring “Dopest Pub in Town” to Colorado!
Micah Maffeo is on a simple mission: he wants to have “the dopest pub in town with beers and food you literally can’t get anywhere else in the state of Colorado.” Micah is the latest Voodoo Brewing Co. Franchise Owner, and he’s getting ready to hit the ground running in the craft beer-crazy Rockies!
Apart from a love of beer, Micah brings a huge variety of previous experience to his venture. He is a military intelligence officer with nearly five years of service, having been in the U.S. Army for seven years altogether. To date, his “coolest job” has been running Boy Scouts of America camps, which he did for 11 years before becoming an executive in the organization. Plus, Micah ran the SALUTE Veterans National Honors Society. He cut his teeth in sales selling cars as well as supporting himself through college by selling guitars.
No wonder Micah doesn’t find time for hobbies, but he loves learning new things. To make time for that, he is using audiobooks that are playing in the background at work or when he is driving. So, not much time for fun then? Well, it’s not entirely all work and no play, as he does love his video games and his Golden Retriever puppy, Auggie.
Micah’s Road to Craft Beer Franchise Ownership
How do you go from military intelligence to buying a craft beer franchise for sale? Micah transitioned into business a few years ago and spent time investing in real estate. “The market got too hot to get a fair deal or cash flow, so I started looking into buying existing businesses,” he explains. Turns out he wasn’t the only one with this idea, and other real estate investors had started doing the same thing. Eventually, Micah thought that franchising may be his best opportunity.
But it had to be a franchise with a difference: “I didn’t want to sell my soul or identity to a cookie-cutter corporate machine”, he says. “I wanted to bring to my community something fresh, something that was new and brought value. Something that would fit in my community like a glove but was unique. If you wanted what we got the only place you can get it was in my shop.” After researching hundreds of franchises, Voodoo Brewing Co. popped up.
The first thing that caught Micah’s attention was the vibe, which immediately reminded him of his local enthusiastic craft beer culture. “Coloradans would be shocked to find the pub vibe and design is forged outside of our state,” he notes.
Micah also loved the fact that Voodoo Franchise Owners are being encouraged to reflect their local communities and combine them with the Voodoo flair. Businesses are locally owned, interiors are locally designed, and produce for our chef-inspired menu is locally sourced.
As a new Franchise Owner, Micah was impressed by the amount of freedom he had to make the business his own. “It’s actually shocking that it’s a franchise model,”he says. As in any franchise, there are rules and brand guidelines to adhere to, but Micah found there were good reasons for those.
“Overall, this is definitely your ship you’re sailing. You get the advantages and freedom of a mom-and-pop shop AND the advantages and safety of a franchise without the real negatives of both,” he reflects.
Raising the Bar With Voodoo’s Craft Beer Franchise Model
Micah didn’t learn all of this from websites. Meeting the Voodoo team during his Approval Day was a big part of the process, and he doesn’t mince his words: “As a previous greasy car salesman, I can smell a greasy car salesman and a rotten deal from a mile away. No one on the corporate team matches that description because they know what they have created is good quality, it speaks for itself, no need to get pushy or try to hide things. They give you who they are and what Voodoo is about and if you like it great, if not that’s great too.”
As a former salesman, Micah understands better than most that being silver-tongued is not enough to sell successfully. If a product is not great, you will sell less. One of his favorite parts of his new career, he says, is “drinking the beer and knowing this beer is good drinkable stuff, even the styles I don’t like.” Micah laughs. He’s not usually a fan of stouts. “I thought I could definitely finish a glass of this whereas I normally can’t stomach a few sips.”
If the beer was good, the food was “mind-blowing”. Micah remembers: “I was 75% confident in going with Voodoo when I arrived in Erie, Pennsylvania [for Approval Day], and I rose to 125% after eating the food Chef Nate [Cillo, Voodoo Culinary Director] prepared.” He credits Chef Nate’s food with blowing him away with cuisine that is easy and quick to execute but deceivingly delicious at the same time.
It’s All About the Customers!
As a new Franchise Owner, Micah also found the support from Voodoo’s corporate team invaluable, crediting them with being responsive and supportive throughout the journey. “I feel that Voodoo is my tribe”, he says. “The people of Voodoo remind me of people in my friend group. These people are cut from the same cloth as me and the people I associate with and would choose to spend my limited free time getting a beer with. Being with people that you get, and get you, makes working with them better.”
Even though Micah knew that he wanted to be his own boss rather than work for other people, creating a great environment for his employees is part of his motivation. “My number one job is taking care of my employee. It is the most important thing I do, for when you take care of employees, they take pride and take care of customers and everything else.”
It’s a lesson Micah learned as a Boy Scout camp director. Becoming known as a good employer not only meant he had seasoned staff returning several years in a row. Happy staff members also meant happy customers. “I stopped running ads, and my camp was booked full several summers in advance, so we had to start a waitlist. All because I took extreme care and invested in my employees and they, in turn, took extreme care and invested in my customers and business.”
The plan is to bring the same philosophy to his Colorado Voodoo pub. “There is nothing more important than our beer, our food, our employees, our customers, and our communities”, says Micah. This clear culture was one of the main arguments for Voodoo. Micah felt that he got “all the support and security of a franchise model with none of the soul-sucking, cookie-cutter, uniformed red tape that comes with a franchise model.”
He does value the support he has had but one thing he wants potential future Franchise Owners to understand is that they will have to work for their success. “You definitely need to be throwing your shoulder into this venture as an owner because the Voodoo team is not going to do it for you, but you are absolutely not flying solo trying to navigate the complexities of opening a pub by yourself.”
Micah’s Plans for Future Franchise Success
Another piece of advice Micah has for those considering opening their own franchise is to focus on the location for their pub. He recommends lining up 20 or more potential locations and looking at them critically as they may not prove to be right once you look at the inside. Micah cautions that commercial real estate differs significantly from its residential counterpart, and it may take months to find the right location.
For him, the choice of becoming a Voodoo Franchise Owner has been all about creating the future he dreams of. “[It is all about] ensuring my financial freedom and the freedom to attend my unborn children’s games, recitals, ceremonies whenever I want to.” Apart from his personal goals, Micah has a vision for his customers and his team, too. For his staff, he envisages a place for employees that he would have loved to work at with a leadership team to support him. For his customers, Micah wants to create real value, enticing them to come in for a second, third, and fourth visit.
He believes that Voodoo’s philosophy of offering an “anti-franchise” franchise opportunity will suit him and his community. Micah is excited to become part of this small, but mighty team, and he is looking forward to bringing his personal touch to the pub, too.
It’s one of the factors that differentiates Voodoo Brewing Co. from other franchise opportunities. Personality counts, and – together with quality – personality and atmosphere make guests return to Voodoo pubs over and over again. If that sounds like the right opportunity for you, please visit our franchise website for more info.