News roundup: Assurance Financial hires marketing director as it readies for more national expansion … Louisiana loses $1.1B annually due to child care issues, report says … Smoothie King introduces franchise incentive program for Baton Rouge first responders

    Plotting the course: As it seeks to establish a greater market share throughout the United States, Baton Rouge-based Assurance Financial today announced the hire of The Day Group’s David Day as its new marketing director. Day will assume the role in June. He will oversee all aspects of the mortgage banker’s brand development, advertising and branch marketing. The company says the new position was created as a result of years of consistent growth. Assurance Financial opened in 2001 under managing partners Kenny Hodges and Chris Payton and has since established 25 branches across 22 markets. It has plans to lend in all 50 states by the end of 2019. The Day Group will remain operational for a limited period of time under the supervision of David Day’s wife, Sue Day, who has been with the company for 17 years.

    At a loss: Employee absences and turnover resulting from child care issues is costing Louisiana employers $816 million per year, according to a recent report by LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab, the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, Entergy and Loyola University New Orleans. The report, titled Losing Ground, documents the economic costs the lack of quality child care and inadequate investment in child care resources. The report notes that child care issues result in an annual loss of $1.1 billion for the state’s economy and $84 million in tax revenue each year because of lost workplace productivity. Employees in urban areas are more likely to rely on professional providers for child care assistance, the report says. Women and single working parents are more likely to make work decisions that impact their career and earning potential on child care issues. See the full report.

    With a purpose: New Orleans-based Smoothie King announced today that it is offering a new franchise incentive program for Baton Rouge first responders wanting to transition into business. The Smoothie King First Responder Initiative program is designed specifically for full-time police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who complete at least 10 years of consecutive service, the chain says. Qualified candidates will receive a 20% discount on their initial fee if they choose to transition into entrepreneurship and franchise with the chain. In addition to the fee discount, all first responders who sign on with program be offered a business model that with training materials, proprietary processes, and team support. Smoothie King already offers an incentive program for military veterans through the International Franchise Association.

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