‘Black Panther’ Actor Has Another Big Role: Franchisee

Serendipitous is one way to describe Stanley Aughtry’s career. He quit his full-time engineering job at Norfolk Southern Corp. in late 2019 to focus on his 360Clean franchise, not knowing the time to grow a cleaning business would soon be perfect.

“I didn’t plan it out that way. I wouldn’t have known that” the pandemic “was coming,” Aughtry said. “Our business actually saw a growth spike during the pandemic.”

His acting career likewise came about unexpectedly. Aughtry, who operates 360Clean in Atlanta, landed a minor role in “The Dark Knight,” the 2008 Batman movie, by pure accident. A friend was an assistant director on the film, and the casting director got Aughtry’s information and wanted him to come in for an audition.

He figured why not, and got the part. “They said, ‘Hey, would you be available these days?’ If I’m honest with you, I told them yes, but I didn’t really know if I could do it,” he said. The filming dates didn’t conflict with his regular work schedule, so it worked out. (The final cut of the film included his scene, which he didn’t expect.)

The same thing happened for “Black Panther,” the blockbuster Marvel Studios movie. He was walking a friend through the audition process and to get them involved in some background work for the film. “They didn’t call my friend, but they called me back to do some green-screen testing,” Aughtry said.

He wound up with a speaking role as a merchant tribe warrior, which he was grateful for as he’d been working to break out beyond background roles. “The stories all around my resume on the film side aren’t really the typical story. It definitely worked out in the end, so I’ve been very fortunate that way,” he said.

Yes, he spent time with high-profile leads Chadwick Boseman, Angela Bassett and Michael B. Jordan. Filming the first movie (he has a part in the sequel, too) took about a month. “It really felt like a family while we were shooting the movie,” Aughtry said. Everyone was treated with respect, “it didn’t matter where you were on the call sheet.”

Boseman hosted a wrap party at his home in Atlanta, where the cast reflected on their time filming, Aughtry said. “I got quite a bit of time directly with Chadwick. So, with his passing,” in August 2020, “that hit me very hard, because I felt like I genuinely got a chance to get to know him, not only on set as a co-worker,” Aughtry said.

Juggling his work as an actor, an entrepreneur and an engineer came easily to him because he held a rigorous schedule while attending Virginia’s Hampton University, where he played defensive linebacker on the football team. Many days, he’d wake up around 5 a.m., work out, go to class, go to football practice and get home at 6 p.m. to make dinner and do his homework—just do it all over again the next day, he said.

“So, being at a corporation and putting in eight hours, I’m like, OK, I can still do something else—whether its acting, whether it’s building a business,” Aughtry said.

He picked the cleaning franchise, in part, because of the corporate team’s strong communication skills. “If I reached out, they immediately got back with me. If I had a question, they did their best to resolve it,” he said.

He said he didn’t go into franchising with the intent to open a commercial cleaning company, but the brand’s low cost of entry was appealing to him. “It definitely made more logical sense for me to be able to take baby steps as a franchise owner with a 360Clean,” he said, “versus me doing something that will require so much more of my time, training, effort.” He was able to continue his full-time job for five years while also building his franchise business.

The initial investment to open a 360Clean franchise ranges from $20,800 to $29,000. Based in Charleston, South Carolina, it has about 40 territories spread across 15 states.

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