Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Secret Millionaire Season Two Stars Gary and Diane Heavin

If you missed last season of the hit ABC television show Secret Millionaire, you missed an opportunity to learn more about Gary and Diane Heavin. On the show, this married couple lived on just $6.50 each day while residing in a one-bedroom apartment in the poverty-stricken Third Ward in Houston. This was very different from the lavish surroundings these self-made millionaires were used to but it was worth it.

The couple was in Houston to identify local community organizations in need of funding and boy did they. After revealing who they were at the end of the show, the Heavins found three worthy organizations, donating a total of $410,000 of their personal money. An organization for children of incarcerated parents called No More Victims, the wellness-focused Lazarus House, and an autistic children’s residence called the Sean Ashley House were the lucky recipients.

Such a generous donation leads people to wonder how this couple got so wealthy. Ever heard of Curves, the female workout facility? Well, the Heavins are the brains behind this global franchise. They opened their first Curves club back in 1992 in the small Texas town of Harlingen. To their delight, it was a success so they tried their hand at running a second club. It too proved successful and the Heavins decided they must be on to something.

The problem was that there were millions of women looking for a comfortable and inspiring place to exercise. The Heavins knew they could not help everyone in their target audience without assistance. Therefore, they decided to get help in the form of franchise owners. In 1995, the Texas city of Paris became the site of the first Curves under independent ownership and operation. The idea took off like wildfire and franchisors were soon opening Curves throughout the nation.

Curves was soon the fastest growing franchise style business in history. After writing a New York Times bestselling book regarding the development of their company, the Heavins surprised everyone by taking Curves international. Today, the nearly 10,000 clubs are spread over 70-plus countries. The company is now the largest global fitness franchise and the Heavins have assumed a permanent spot in history as express fitness innovators. The couple has achieved more than they ever dreamed of but they have not forgotten their humble beginnings.

The Heavins remember what it was like to struggle financially as new entrepreneurs. They also understand the importance of giving. They are regarded as huge philanthropists, providing money for adoption services, family abuse prevention efforts, health awareness and healthcare for females, and more. Each year, Curves holds a food drive that provides millions of pounds of food to families in need.

This couple wants each Curves franchise owner to be as giving as they are. The Charity Match program established by Curves International encourages franchise owners to give back locally. In the meantime, the Heavins continue their efforts with activities like building homes through Habitat for Humanity and flying doctors and supplies to the natural disaster-ravaged country of Haiti.

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