Alaura Harper, Papa John's Franchisee

From an early age, I knew the value of hard work. At 14, I worked for Detroit Free Press going door-to-door to sell my neighbors papers. For the next few years, I worked around Detroit, picking up small jobs and keeping myself busy. At 16, I fell in love with pizza. I worked at local pizza stores for over 10 years, from answering phones and becoming an assistant manager to eventually becoming a general manager. I loved the intensity of night shifts, the busyness behind the counter and speaking to people around my community. But what I loved most was helping people. I also knew I wanted to be a part of something bigger and in 2015, I found Papa John’s.

What’s exciting about being a part of this company is that it’s always striving for better—not just Better Ingredients and Better Pizza, but also better relationships with their team members, franchisees and local communities. Since September 2017, my stores have partnered with Living and Learning Enrichment Center, a local nonprofit that supports teens and adults with autism. We volunteered to help their summer camp by giving their teens a tour of the store, showing them what we do and teaching them how to make pizzas. Our stores also partner with the Northville School District to provide school lunches to all of its nine schools. From Northville to South Lyon, we sponsor several other sports leagues and schools in the local area.

From the very beginning, what separated Papa John’s from every other pizza company I considered working for was that they care about their people. When I first visited the Louisville headquarters, I was sold. The environment was immediately welcoming, genuine and it was clear that people were there for more than a just a job—they loved what they did because Papa John’s was their family. When we began getting our stores off the ground in South Lyon in 2016 and Northville in 2017, people at corporate were supportive at every step, calling to check in and making sure we knew they had our back. I’m happy to say that support system remains today.

I also work to create that supportive environment in my own store. As a 27-year-old female franchisee working in a male-dominated industry, I hope to be a role model to other young people and women looking to start their own business. That’s why I invest heavily in cultivating personal relationships with my teams and plan to one day offer them the opportunity to partner with me in additional franchises. I believe striving for better should mean also helping others find more opportunities for value.

That’s what keeps me motivated and committed to this brand. It isn’t about the business—it’s the fact that we represent a company that genuinely cares and gives us the opportunity to make a real impact in our local communities. With the support of a 120,000 strong family, I’m confident we can make a true difference.