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Local Ziebart owner named Franchisee of the Year

Morgantown’s own Nick Lambie, co-owner of Ziebart on Fort Pierpont Drive, was recently recognized as the 2023 Franchisee of the Year by the International Franchise Association at the 64th IFA Annual Convention held in Phoenix, Ariz. This award is the highest honor the organization bestows on individual franchisees. Nominees are selected by their parent companies, and the winner is selected based on community involvement, entrepreneurial spirit, and nurturing a positive workplace culture.

Founded in Troy, Mich, in 1959, Ziebart International Corporation specializes in after-market automotive services like detailing, rust-proofing, and window tinting. Now in its 65th year of business, it now operates over 400 franchising locations in 37 countries and was named a Top Franchise for 2024 by Franchise Business Review.

While the practice of franchising has its critics, the model has been shown to increase economic output and stability. IFA’s 2024 Economic Outlook report projects franchising will provide almost 40,000 jobs for West Virginians this year. Franchising has also been tied to better wages for workers and boosts entrepreneurial opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds. Many companies, Ziebart included, waive their initial franchise fees for veterans.

Lambie, an Air Force veteran, was able to leverage that benefit when he opened Ziebart with his brother, Mark, in 2019. With expert management, leadership, and mentorship, the Lambie brothers propelled their Ziebart along the fast track to success, turning it into one of the top-performing locations in just five years. Next, the ownership team plans to expand to open another location in Washington, Pa.

Matthew Haller, president and CEO of the IFA, underscored the significance of the honor awarded to Lambie, saying, “Franchisees of the Year exemplify what franchising is all about — providing opportunity, serving others, and fulfilling the American Dream.”

EVA MURPHY is a freelance business writer for The Dominion Post. She writes a column on businesses, churches and other entities in the city. To suggest a topic, email her at