bannerFranchisee Stories

Why This Great Clips Franchisee Bought Three More Salons During the Pandemic

Mike Martin didn’t know how the pandemic would end up, but he knew he’d never find a better opportunity to launch three new Great Clips franchise locations.

By Alex Lockie1851 Franchise Editor
Updated 4:16PM 04/14/21

Like many business owners, Mike Martin, a franchise owner with Great Clips, Inc. had to temporarily close shop during the COVID-19 pandemic. But instead of sitting back and waiting for the pandemic to blow over, he decided to triple down and invest in three more locations.

Martin says he felt empowered by his franchisor to take risks. Now, he says the risk has paid off.

“I had been in business for three months with Great Clips when we had to shut down on March 18,” said Martin. “But I already had the wheels in motion to open additional salons.”

At that point, Martin could continue to advance his plan to grow his business with additional Great Clips salons or play it safe. But Martin stayed the course, and according to Steve Hockett, CEO of Great Clips, Inc., it was the right move. 

“On March 4, 2020, Great Clips had 4,501 salons open,” said Hockett. “On April 4, there were 17 salons open. But by May and June, we saw around a 25% increase in new customers.”

For Martin, staying the course meant showing confidence in his investment and in his franchisor. Martin knew people would always need haircuts, and that Great Clips, Inc. has the inside track on how to best deliver that service. So he went ahead with his new locations despite the unprecedented pandemic. 

“I knew that I wanted to open at least two more salons and then ended up adding another because there was a location I was interested in,” he said. “I was already talking to a landlord about that fourth location, and rather than holding off, I just went ahead, finalized and opened. Things slowed down a little because of the pandemic, but I just kept rolling with it.”  

While Martin showed impressive resolve, his confidence stemmed from knowing he was going to get all the support and training he needed from a professional, flexible franchisor who understood his needs. 

“Great Clips is a tremendous franchisor,” said Martin. “They give you all the tools that you need to be a successful franchisee. They’ll do whatever they can for you and help you out in any way possible.”

But the pandemic wasn’t just impacting business in the usual ways — it was also creating a scarcity of workers for Martin to pull from. Usually, Great Clips, Inc. offers strict guidance on hiring metrics before a salon can open based on the franchisor’s tremendous experience and knowledge. But the franchisor in this case was also willing to be flexible with the times, according to Martin. 

“Great Clips was very flexible because it was a really hard time to hire stylists,” said Martin. “There are still a lot of stylists who are scared to come back. We’re in very close contact with people; we’re touching them. Normally, you’re required to have a certain number of stylists hired to get your salon open, but the franchisor team has been flexible, knowing that we can make it work for where we are right now.”

In the end, Martin is glad he took the risk and continued to invest. Now, Martin is poised to reap the rewards of grabbing up market share during uncertain times.

“The support from Great Clips and my own experience made me confident that, yes, opening a new salon in the pandemic is going to be hard for probably a year, but the pandemic is going to end at some point. It’s going to get better,” said Martin. “There’s going to be more certainty, more confidence in the future, so let’s get this thing started so that we’re positioned to benefit from people having higher confidence of being out and getting their hair cut in the near future. I’ll be positioned to take advantage and already have the hard work behind me when the pandemic is over.”

The total investment to open a Great Clips salon ranges from $136,900 to $259,400. For more information, visit  

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.