Maui Wowi Hawaiian has just recruited its newest franchisees, Matt Lawrence and Eric Lutz, from Manalapan, New Jersey.
Lawrence and Lutz join the coffee and smoothie franchise company after proudly serving for six years together in the United States Marine Corps. It was in Iraq, while serving their country, that the two built a friendship that placed them on the path to becoming Maui Wowi franchise owners together.
“When we discovered Maui Wowi Hawaiian, we loved the idea that we could create our own corporate culture while building our own style and brand management around a proven system,” Lawrence says. “After working together with Eric for so many years in the Marine Corps, it was easy to make the transition to business partners.”
He says that together, they have formulated a plan to build the Maui Wowi franchise throughout New Jersey.
Named a Military Friendly Franchise  by G.I. Jobs magazine for three years in a row, Maui Wowi Hawaiian actively seeks veterans to join the franchise system. The company offers veterans, like Lawrence and Lutz, a discount on the franchise fee, in addition to professional support and assistance that aims to help facilitate a smooth transition into business ownership and civilian life.
Finding a veteran-friendly franchise was something that was very important to Lawrence and Lutz, who see their business as more than just a job.
“If you’re going to be in business, there has to be more to it than just the bottom line. It has to have heart to it,” Lutz says. “We want to be able to offer opportunities to veterans who are by nature, great employees, leaders, and know how to get the job done.”
The two of them plan to start with a mobile event unit that will take them away from the corporate world in which they have been working since returning to civilian life four years ago. With Lutz’s background in accounting and a knack for crunching numbers, along with Lawrence’s ability to see the big picture and bring ideas to fruition, they plan to work together, building their business from the ground up.
“I saw very clearly the potential for this business to grow into something bigger,” Lawrence says.
They plan to begin with the mobile Ka’anapli cart and eventually expand into semi-permanent kiosks and fixed locations with drive thru units.
Maui Wowi Hawaiian serves quality products that include gluten-free fresh fruit smoothies made from all-natural ingredients, as well as a line of premium Hawaiian coffees  and specialty espresso beverages. The dual concept provides Lawrence and Lutz a viable business model at a low cost startup.
The two of them say they are excited about the future and their new transition. “It’s great to go from wearing camouflage in the desert, to wearing a suit and tie in an office, and now wearing Hawaiian shirts and sandals at festivals and parties,” Lawrence says.