Marco’s Pizza franchisees Brandon Hudson and Damion Mason have received a prestigious Franchisee of the Year Award from the International Franchise Association, according to a press release.

The annual recognition honors a select group of franchisees who have demonstrated excellence within the franchise community as outstanding franchise establishment owner-operators.

The Franchisee of the Year Award recognizes leading franchise owners from IFA member brands whose “outstanding performance and contributions help protect, enhance and promote the franchise business model,” the release states. “Nominated by their parent company, individuals are selected for their involvement in their communities, embodying the entrepreneurial spirit, fostering a strong and healthy culture with their workforce, and assisting their fellow franchisees when called upon.”

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“As entrepreneurs, this recognition goes beyond personal achievement,” Hudson said. “It symbolizes the limitless possibilities for success and growth when you follow your dream.”

“We are truly honored to receive the Franchisee of the Year award and represent Marco’s Pizza,” he added. “Our mission is to inspire the next generation of Black entrepreneurs and show that, together, with passion, dedication and a commitment to community, we can continue to achieve greatness.”

Hudson and Mason were college roommates who spent several years in their own ventures before turning their 20-plus year friendship into a successful business partnership with Marco’s. Marco’s had already become a household staple with their families, and the decision to join the brand, they said, was simple.

After six years, the duo and their team are on a path of rapid growth, with seven locations open and 11 in various stages of development.

“Brandon and Damion’s journey with Marco’s Pizza embodies the essence of our brand—passion, community and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Tony Libardi, co-CEO and president of Marco’s Pizza. “Their dedication to excellence, coupled with a commitment to community empowerment, has not only contributed to the success of their franchise locations, but also serves as an inspiration to us all.”

Key to the duo’s success is building relationships with the communities they serve and giving back through empowering minority entrepreneurship, the press release notes. As Black entrepreneurs, their hope is to demonstrate that successful Black entrepreneurship is achievable.

“Franchisee of the Year exemplifies what franchising is all about—providing opportunity, serving others and fulfilling the American dream,” said Matthew Haller, the IFA’s president and CEO. “We are proud to recognize Brandon and Damion with the highest honor IFA awards to franchisees, and I have no doubt their work is changing lives and making a lasting community impact.”

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