A simple Google search of Christian Brothers Automotive reveals a lot about the brand’s upward trajectory.
Franchise Grade, an online-based company engaged in comparing and grading franchise systems for their investment value, ranked Christian Brothers as the No. 5 franchise in the entire nation—that’s out of 2,419 other franchise systems. Not a single other auto repair franchise cracked the top 50. And most recently, Franchise Business Review named Christian Brothers a best auto repair franchise, based on franchisee satisfaction—this is the ninth year in a row that the brand has made the elite list.
It’s no surprise, then, that Christian Brothers is on the cusp of significant expansion throughout the country. To date, Christian Brothers provides an unparalleled business opportunity for close to 200 families. Those franchisees then employ nearly 1,000 people in stores across the country. During the first half of 2016 alone, the brand opened three new locations, boasting another 30 franchisees in the pipeline who are set to open up shops of their own. Christian Brothers also celebrated an increase in same-store sales of 8.9 percent, with total revenue jumping 13 percent.
“These numbers are validating for us because we believe that we provide the ‘nice difference’ in our industry,” said Josh Wall, the vice president of franchise development. “The rise of our revenue is evidence of not only how much we’ve grow in the past few years, but of why we’ve managed to grow successfully. We treat all of customers with dignity, our work is done with honesty and integrity, and more and more people are taking notice.”
Now, Christian Brothers is planning to build off of that momentum by targeting an important territory for continued nationwide growth—the Carolinas. Both North and South Carolina are largely untapped markets for the brand. With six locations in North Carolina and one in South Carolina—which opened its doors back in 2014—Wall believes this is just the beginning for Christian Brothers throughout the Southeast. And that’s due, in large part, to the area’s demographics and strong economy.
North and South Carolina have grown significantly faster than the rest of the nation since 2000, and their growth is projected to continue. South Carolina is expected to grow by 8.5 percent in the coming years, and is projected to gain nearly 400,000 new residents and surpass five million by 2020. North Carolina is projected to grow even faster, increasing by nearly 11 percent and gaining more than one million new residents.
“Regions like the Carolinas that are experiencing a continual uptick in population growth are great for our brand. As more and more people move into these states, the need for Christian Brothers’ Services will only continue to rise. With the help of the right franchisees to lead the charge, we believe we can help fill that growing demand,” Wall said.
In particular, Wall says the brand is targeting cities like Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina and Greenville in South Carolina. Recently, Charlotte and Raleigh were named by WalletHub as the best metro areas for new business. The ranking was based on several factors, including economic stability, tax climate and the size of the prospective talent pool. Greenville offers a business-friendly climate, too. After transitioning from textiles to auto manufacturing, aircraft and technology, the city has experienced the highest international investment per capita in the nation.
“There’s a lot of potential in these areas. The economy, growing population, demographics and level of diversity in the Carolinas puts it at the top of our list for development. And because it’s largely an untapped territory for Christian Brothers Automotive, the opportunities for growth for new entrepreneurs is nearly limitless,” Wall said.