One of the most widely-recognized names in haircare, Great Clips® entered 2018 with more than 4,200 salons in markets across North America, but that didn’t prevent the franchise from making significant development strides in the first half of the year. By July, Great Clips had welcomed 27 new franchise owners into its system in 2018, some with multi-unit development deals.
Great Clips has found development opportunities in a number of markets throughout the year, but the franchise has been particularly focused on the northeast United States and Canada, targeting New England, New York, and Ottawa.
“Great Clips has been around for a while and is a mature system, but there are markets and opportunities in the Northeast where we have the advantages of being a strong, recognizable brand without being too full yet,” said Jonathan Steward, senior director of operations for Great Clips. “We are looking to add 100 locations across New York State and 150 locations across New England in the future, and those numbers could continue to rise depending on population growth over time.”
The brand’s development push in Ottawa comes on the heels of a successful expansion effort in Toronto.
“At Great Clips, we’ve always been focused on making sure that we have a full support network in place before we start recruiting franchisees in new areas. To ensure that our franchisees have the tools and resources that they need, we’ve been very strategic when it comes to our Canadian expansion,” said Beth Caron, director of franchise development at Great Clips. “Now that we’re experiencing growth in the greater Toronto area, we can move farther north and east, with Ottawa being the next natural step for our brand. There’s no doubt that Ottawa is a great city. It’s not just because it’s the capital city of Canada. The market is filled with our core customer base, and we’re excited to enter this market and see significant growth.”
Caron says that recent Great Clips expansion efforts are part of a development strategy that reflects the franchise brand’s larger philosophy of proactivity.
“We never want to be reactive,” Caron said. “We’ve been doing well and moving in the right direction for many years, but we’re not going to rest on our laurels. We’re taking a close look at our system to see what’s working and what could use improvement. This year we’ve continued to see a number of opportunities for growth, and we’re always excited to bring new people and ideas into our system.”
In addition to finding new territories for development, Caron says the brand is also working to improve the tools used to find the most compatible franchisees.
“We want to get to know our prospects even better,” she said. “We work very closely with our potential franchisees, so there’s no trouble getting to know them once we start working with them, but we’d like to become more predictive with regard to seeking out the candidates who are likely to do well in our system. We’re looking at our most successful owners and asking: “What do we need to do to find more of these people, but in the geographic areas where we have such great opportunity?’”
The first step in that process, Caron says, is a new franchise development website, planned for the second half of 2018. That upgraded site, along with the franchise’s driven development strategy, is likely to put Great Clips on track to hit its development goal of 48 new franchisees overall for the year. But Caron is clear, the franchise has little interest in growth for growth’s sake alone.
“We’re not just going to set up shop wherever we find available real estate,” she said. “We’re carefully looking at every market and following our defined strategy. What we’ve found is that there is still room for growth in markets across the U.S. and Canada; and not just where new Great Clips stores can survive, but where they can really thrive and grow.”
To support that growth, Great Clips is actively seeking qualified candidates for new salons, and Caron is optimistic about the franchise’s prospects.
“We’ve already found some amazing new franchisees in 2018, and we’re excited to keep that going,” Caron said. “It’s been a great year for our brand so far, and the best part is bringing on such great new franchisees to work with.”