Thriving through Covid: Ken VanderVeen – Clean Eatz Franchise Owner

Ken VanderVeen is finally his own boss. His journey to get to the entrepreneurial promise land was driven by two distinct circumstances—one business related, and one of a personal nature. In the end, Ken bought a Clean Eatz franchise, which he purchased in late June of 2020. He’s now open for business in his hometown of Grand Rapids, MI—the first location in the entire state to have this franchise offering.

During this edition of “Thriving through Covid” series, Ken shares a few thoughts and a little bit of advice for all the other budding entrepreneurs out there, looking to take an entrepreneurial journey of their own.

On Pivoting to Franchising:

“I had a career in public finance, about a quarter century in all. I did well and enjoyed that phase, but my employer ended up downsizing which left me looking for work. At first, I was looking for the same previous type of employment, but realized I wasn’t getting very excited about any of the opportunities. I started looking at starting a business of my own. Through my previous employer’s career resources, I reached out and found Brigitte Betser with FranNet.”

How He Found Their Perfect Franchise:

“Brigitte and I really did our due diligence on multiple concepts. We shook the bushes and looked at quite a few different opportunities. But I did have a few personal reasons for looking into Clean Eatz, a franchise that focused on healthy eating and good nutrition. She presented the full concept scope and it really resonated with me on a lot of different levels. The support and community among the brand and the other franchisees were also impressive.”

On Covid Concerns:

“I never pictured myself being in the restaurant business, but I really connected with Clean Eatz on a personal level. The world has changed and will continue to change. I wasn’t so worried about the industry suffering in these times. I kept the focus on having a passion for this concept. I can clearly see a path for this business and the products they’re offering. All of the validation I got from the other franchisees in the system were either neutral or positive. Many were growing before the pandemic and many are continuing to grow after the pandemic has set in.”

Best Advice on Starting a Business Now?

“Owning a business can be a scary prospect. But you have to commit to it on a personal level, along with your passions. If you can see a vision through, despite factors like Covid or the economy, you can do it. You just have to find the right opportunity for you. Every day is an opportunity to gain knowledge and confidence. I say, ‘go for it’.”

On Working with FranNet:

“First of all, I never knew this industry even existed – connecting people with the right franchise opportunity. Brigitte and I sat down and discussed goals, strengths and lifestyle goals. She kept the focus on me and what was important to me. She ended up being right on the money with the top-five choices I listed. Brigitte answered all my questions and my personal experience with FranNet was fantastic.”


“Thriving through Covid” is FranNet’s new series of inspirational articles featuring positive news, business owner profiles, success stories, and educational updates—all of which demonstrate the resilience of the franchising industry. We want you to know that even during this uncertain time, franchising can offer you an alternative path forward—and a new opportunity to achieve success through business ownership.

Check back with FranNet twice weekly for new articles and let us know when you’d like to begin an entrepreneurial journey of your own!

Dec 7, 2020