Small-Home Senior Living Company Avendelle Plans Fast Growth Through Unique Franchise Model

Avendelle Assisted Living is looking to nearly double its number of small-home assisted living homes by growing through a franchise senior living model.

With a presence largely focused in North Carolina and Florida, the company is seeking to innovate the assisted living space by putting an emphasis on small resident to caregiver ratios, according to Avendelle Assisted Living Founder Esther Cromwell and COO Bill Bunting.

“[We] provide personalized care,” Cromwell said. “My usual analogy is that a bigger setting will have pre-existing boxes, and you need to fit into those boxes. We take the box and put it around you so we can incorporate normal likes, dislikes and routines.”


Avendelle operates under the Residential Assisted Living franchise system, similar to other small-home franchise operators like Majestic Residences. Avendelle provides franchisees with support including market research, training and marketing help in exchange for a franchise fee of $39,999, according to its website.

The company’s communities are homelike, and among the big appeals for residents is that they can live very near family and friends with access to the support and services they need, like at-home medical care.

“It provides an ease of mind for not just the resident, but the family as well,” Bunting said. “We’re providing everything they need.”

Cary, North Carolina home via Avendelle Senior Living

Through various infrastructure and law changes, around 98% of residents remain at Avendelle Senior Living through the end of their lives, according to Cromwell.

Cromwell’s small-home business model is personal. She wanted to start her own senior housing company after her experiences with helping her neighbor with getting into a community and seeing the difficulties associated with it. She opened three homes between 2005 and 2007, and then focused on establishing the infrastructure needed to grow.

Avendelle Senior Living currently has 21 small homes in its franchise system, which seek to maintain a ratio of one caregiver per three residents. In North Carolina, the company has “evolved the model” for small home care and worked with state officials to change certain regulations, Cromwell said.

More homes are currently being developed through franchisor partnerships, with 10 under some form of construction or future multi-unit agreements in North Carolina, and 11 coming to Florida by January 2024. The company’s franchise model could support building out as many as 50 new locations in the next six months, according to Bunting..

“We can support a franchisee partner with opening and operating an Avendelle Assisted Living Franchise in any residential community nationwide,” Bunting said. “Expansion possibilities are endless with this model.” 

Looking to the future, Bunting added most of Avendelle’s lead flow for franchisees is coming from the east coast and Midwest, and the coming expansions are possible through the efforts of senior services networking and franchisee partners “working in unison.”

As the year closes out, Bunting and Cromwell described 2023 as a year of accelerated planning and strategic relationship growth between hiring team members and preparing for growth.

“2023 is looking to be a very positive end because we have a lot of franchise partners interested in coming on, and we only see that multiplied in 2024,” Bunting said.

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