Sandy Willis: Entrepreneurial Aptitude
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN JOSE — Sandy Willis has always had a penchant for entrepreneurship. Even in the midst of an economic recession, she was able to find a diamond in the rough. “Back in 2009, my husband, Bill, and I were looking to buy a business that had positive cash flow,” she recounts. “We’ve been entrepreneurs for quite some time—prior to that point, we’d owned three different coffee shops and sold them. We came across a Molly Maid franchise in San Jose and it met our criteria, so we bought it. About three years later, the owner of the neighboring franchise in Cupertino/Saratoga wanted to sell, so we ended up buying their territory and expanding.”
Today, as president of Molly Maid of S. Silicon Valley, Sandy says her favorite part of her job is the independence. “I like the freedom that comes with being my own boss. Besides setting my own hours, I’m able to go the extra mile to take care of my employees and customers as needed.”
A resident of Morgan Hill, Sandy spends her time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “Bill and I enjoy hiking, playing golf, and going on vacation when we get the chance,” she details. “We like beaches, so Mexico is a favorite vacation spot of ours. At home, I enjoy cooking and trying my hand at new recipes.” Additionally, Sandy takes time to keep up with her and Bill’s three adult children.
Regarding a professional philosophy, Sandy espouses the importance of employee care. “We have about 30 employees, and we try to create a nice working environment by paying them a decent wage and keeping them busy. Most of them are mothers, so I try to make sure they’re able to support themselves and their families. That’s definitely one of the most rewarding parts of my job.”
When asked what she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Sandy says she’d travel. “I’ve traveled a fair amount in my life—after I graduated from college, I lived in Europe for a year, and I’ve also been to places like Mexico, Australia, and Canada. So, if I were to retire, I wouldn’t mind doing some more traveling, both abroad and domestically. I’d like to visit New Zealand and also spend some time checking out the East Coast of the U.S., especially the New England area.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird. I’ve been that way ever since I had my coffee shop.
Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: Both—I’m an animal person.
Q: What was your first pet?
A: A cat named Puff-Puff.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Anything chocolate.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Maurizio’s in Morgan Hill.
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