Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

July 2, 2014

Local Sylvan owner top franchisee in country

TRAVERSE CITY — Hillary Malone Tilton’s Sylvan Learning Center education didn’t end with math and reading.

The company gave Malone Tilton a business education, too.

“My parents were some of the first franchisees in the Sylvan systems in the mid-80s,” Malone Tilton said. “I’ve been involved in the family business pretty much my whole life.”

Malone Tilton now owns 13 Sylvan franchises, more than anyone in the country. She is based in Grand Rapids and owns seven centers in west Michigan, including Traverse City, and six in the Minneapolis, Minn. area. She’s focused on increasing enrollment at the centers after acquiring the Minneapolis locations with her husband Sean Tilton last year.

Sylvan Learning Center is a private tutoring service with locations around the country.

Studying education and business helped Malone Tilton prepare for a job where she’s a manager, marketer and teacher. She was an elementary teacher at a charter school in Grand Rapids before transitioning to Sylvan Learning of West Michigan and Minneapolis.

Malone Tilton said being part of a large company helps structure the businesses, but managing locations in different states is a challenge.

“Communication is our biggest focus, and making sure we have great talent and great directors in all our locations,” she said.

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