Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial

Like many older Americans, Craig Ferger says, “We retired and went back to work.” Ferger was a welder for 38 years. His wife, Nancy, was an insurance agent for 32 years. When they both retired from their respective jobs, they weren’t quite ready to stop working, so they went looking for a new challenge.

The Fergers had a desire to try something in food service. Neither had industry experience, so they started looking at franchise concepts. After studying a number of different business opportunities, they decided that the Pizza Ranch model was the best fit for their new retirement adventure.


Supporting the Community with Pizza Pie

Pizza Ranch is a fast-casual buffet-style restaurant that also offers pick-up and delivery. What makes Pizza Ranch unique from its competitors is its “buffet-your-way” option. Craig describes the model as, “We make any pizza you want and bring the first pieces to your table. The rest goes on the buffet.” Pizza Ranch also offers a chicken buffet featuring delicious chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy plus hot vegetables, fried foods and potato wedges, a full salad bar, and a dessert bar, including soft-serve ice cream.

Pizza Ranch is based in Orange City, Iowa and has franchises in more than 207 locations in 14 states. Key to the company’s growth has been the support of the communities it serves. This partnership served the Fergers well as they moved to a delivery service in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic devastated many other restaurant chains.

Another unique quality of the chain that fits Craig and Nancy Ferger’s belief system is that Pizza Ranch is a Christian company. Their vision is “to glorify God by positively impacting the world we live in.”

Pizza Ranch lives this philosophy with its community impact fundraising program, which benefits non-profits and schools. It’s a win/win for everyone. Community organizations provide the staff to serve customers at Pizza Ranch and in return for their efforts, they receive a percentage of sales from the event.

This devotion to service is a guiding principle for Craig and Nancy, who have made serving their community a high priority at their Pizza Ranch locations. “It means a lot being part of a Christian organization”, Nancy said. “They really help you live your mission and put you in a position for success.”


Making a Lifetime Commitment at Retirement

Craig and Nancy opened the Weston, Wisconsin location in November 2014 and it quickly became a community pillar.

Franchises are a lifetime commitment, as Nancy can attest. She states, “Make sure the franchise you look at is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.” It’s rare to find someone’s ideals and beliefs reflected in their business. For Nancy and Craig, Pizza Ranch aligned with their core values and created a positive environment for every customer that walks through the door.

Even with all of these great amenities and exemplary service, there are times they fall short, but Craig says that’s really their time to shine. “When a customer makes a comment about their dining experience, we like to respond, and if they are not happy, we will try to make it right for them,” he explains.

Lessons Learned—Financing Franchise Success in Retirement

Craig and Nancy opened their first Pizza Ranch location with the help of the Rainmaker Plan® from Benetrends Financial.” We used our 401(k) to buy our first Pizza Ranch”, says Nancy.

Even with the occasional bumps, the Fergers have experienced great success with the Weston, Wisconsin Pizza Ranch and in October 2018 expanded with Pizza Ranch Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and just opened a Pizza Ranch/Funzone Arcade in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

Nancy says, “Benetrends has been very helpful for us. We can go into our 401(k) and take money out and put it into funding our other locations. It has allowed us to expand on our mission of serving others.”


“We are very excited about our third Pizza Ranch store. Our kids live in La Crosse, so it has worked out very well for us, Nancy said.” Even with their new franchises keeping them busy, Nancy and Craig still stress the importance of giving back to the community. “We’re still the same people, even being busy as part of Pizza Ranch. We still do our best to help everyone. It’s been a gift from God to be able to help,” Nancy says.

Craig says their retirement venture has helped him evolve over the past six years. “I was not a very people-oriented person, but my wife is. She showed me the ropes and now I love to interact with guests”, Craig said. Nancy has also learned new things during her time as a franchise owner, stating “If you really want to do something, don’t let it pass you by.”

Other Success Stories

Denise & Jim Vizzini: Hand & Stone Success Story

Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery and a little research to make your vision become a reality. When Denise and Jim Vizzini relocated to Pennsylvania, Denise had to leave her massage therapy business of...

Paula Lewis: Junkaway Success Story

Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial When Paula decided to leave the world of retirement plan administration and start her own business, she did her research on funding options and found Benetrends Financial’s Rainmaker Plan® was the perfect fit. No...

Barry Kornspan: WSI No Limit Success Story

Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial Benetrends Client Spotlight: WSI No Limit Name: Barry Kornspan Opening Date: November 2014 Company: WSI No Limit, Inc. Location: West Orange, NJ (although I can help anyone, anywhere!) Q: Tell us about your...

Andrea & Hans Mulder: Obertal Inn/Alpen Rose Inn Success Story

Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial Benetrends Client Spotlight: Chelan Hospitality, Inc. Name: Hans & Andrea Mulder Opening Date: October 2010 Company: Obertal Inn, Townhomes at Obertal Inn, Alpen Rose Inn Location: Leavenworth, WA...

Perry Grot Enterprises, Inc.: Phenix Salon Suites Success Story

Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial David and I (the Grot’s) have known the Perry’s (Karen and John) since 1995. In 1998, John and David joined forces as independent brokers, selling health insurance. Due to the changes within the industry, we...

Rick McVey: Dilly Lily Success Story

Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial Richard McVey had an interesting path from the corporate world to entrepreneur. After receiving an MBA, he began his business career as an accountant. “After a few years, I was looking for a change and became a...

The Branham Family: Reindeer Shuttle Success Story

Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial You know them by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. One day a year, Santa’s reindeer take flight around the world. But during their off season, they have a different...

Wendi and Bruce Davison: Arnold Black Bear Inn Success Story

Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial endi and Bruce Davison are owners and proprietors of the Arnold Black Bear Inn, located at 4,000 feet elevation in the Sierra Foothills of Northern California, in the town of Arnold. Arnold is home to Calaveras...

William & Katherine Carter: The Canyon Villa Success Story

Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial My journey to The Canyon Villa began with a Bachelor’s degree in Air Commerce (aeronautics) from the Florida Institute of Technology. Upon my graduation, I returned to my home in Connecticut, where my Dad told me...

Joy Patton & Dwright Fowler-Davis: The UPS Store Success Story

Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial Although the path to becoming an entrepreneur differs for every person, the final destination is the same – becoming one’s own boss. Joy Patton and Dwright Fowler-Davis, are no exception.The two became friends...

Richard Longlott: Three if By Air, Inc. Success Story

Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial Rick Longlott wanted to turn his love of flying into a business, but traditional financing options were out of the question.  He was able to realize his dream using the Rainmaker Plan® and the business is soaring...

Aussie Pet Mobile Success Story

Mark Shaffer has lived most of his life in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks, which is also the location of the first Walmart. So, it isn’t a surprise that his career included time with the retail giant, where he rose through the company ranks during his tenure. In 2008...