BrightStar Launches Small-Home Senior Living Franchise Brand, BrightStar Care Homes – Senior Housing News

One of the largest home care providers in the United States has ramped up its investment in small-home senior living with the launch of a new brand.

BrightStar has announced a new small-home assisted living and memory care franchise brand called BrightStar Care Homes.

Unlike the company’s BrightStar Senior Living franchise communities, which typically have between 38 and 44 units, the small-house BrightStar Care communities are planned to have between 10 and 12 units and span about 5,500 square feet, according to BrightStar Care Chief Development Officer Pete First.

First, who recently ascended to the chief development officer role, is now overseeing all three BrightStar Group Holdings brands: BrightStar Care, BrightStar Senior Living, and the new BrightStar Care Homes.

The investment into the small-home market comes after a successful pilot program with a Boise, Idaho-based franchisee, First told SHN. Now, BrightStar has agreements in place for small-home development projects with existing franchisees in California, Utah, and Kentucky.

BrightStar’s deepening focus on small-home senior living is notable given how the trend has evolved and grown in recent years. One other senior living company with a similar model is Majestic Residences, which as of last November had awarded 32 franchises with more on the way.

‘More economical’

BrightStar piloted its new small-home franchise model with its franchisee in Boise for the last few years. That arrangement has culminated in four open and operating locations and two more under development.

The pilot program also helped BrightStar come up with a standardized model for franchisees. The company is currently working with an architect and the developer involved in the Boise communities on a plan to roll out its new BrightStar Care Homes model nationally.

“There are opportunities there to help streamline that process for the franchisees,” First said. “A lot of the [prospective franchisees] that are looking at this are not necessarily from the industry or from the construction business.”

Average occupancy has hovered around 90% for the Boise-based small homes.

Each small-home project will require an investment of about $1 million to $1.4 million, which is well below the typical $8 million to $10 million required to open a BrightStar Senior Living franchise.

“It’s another way to get into senior living, and this one is a little bit more economical,” First added.

BrightStar Care Homes communities will also have at least two staffers on the clock at all times under a universal worker model. 

Once BrightStar onboard a new franchisee, the company will hold a multi-step training process for them and offer support in exchange for a regular franchisee fee.

BrightStar Care Homes franchisees will have the option of opening as many as three small-home locations under the same franchise agreement in their respective markets. Although the communities will operate under the BrightStar name, franchisees will have influence over their communities’ design, location and acuity level.

  • svg%3E Courtesy BrightStar
  • svg%3E Courtesy BrightStar
  • svg%3E Courtesy BrightStar

First expects most BrightStar Care Homes franchisees will build communities from the ground up, although he does foresee remodeling projects in certain markets where new construction is harder.

BrightStar currently has 11 new small homes in the pipeline to go along with the four in Boise, and First expects to add new franchise agreements in the coming weeks.

Initially, growth will be slow and methodical as the company grows the burgeoning brand.

“We want to make sure that we’re able to get the homes developed and operating,” First said.

First believes BrightStar has a competitive advantage, given its many-year history as a franchise company. And with 340 locations across the U.S., First believes BrightStar has a “sweet spot” in that the company has already established itself as a major player in senior care.

“We’ve developed that relationship with that family, and if we’ve been working with them for a few years … when they have to make that next step, it’s just natural for them to go with the brand that they trust,” he said.