Sport Clips’ longstanding tradition of helping veterans starts with its Founder and CEO—Gordon Logan.
A proud Vietnam veteran, Logan served as an Aircraft Commander in the U.S. Air Force from 1969 to 1974. When he returned home to the United States, Logan, who graduated from MIT prior to enlisting, decided to go back to school to pursue an MBA at the Wharton School of Business.
He and his wife, Bettye, then struck out on their own as franchisees, opening salons under three different brands. But they nearly went out of business when a trusted employee embezzled more than $100,000 and covered up the fact that company taxes had gone unpaid. Left to pick up the pieces, the Logans reevaluated and decided to focus their energies—and limited funds—on a single brand. Logan put his business degrees to work, designing a one-of-a-kind haircut experience that men and boys could look forward to and enjoy. This was in 1993, and it was the beginning of Sport Clips.
As a veteran-turned-successful-entrepreneur, Logan admits that his path isn’t a typical one. He quickly found that upon returning home after years of service overseas, many veterans faced troubling obstacles when transitioning back into civilian life, including finding a stable career.
“Being in the military myself, I truly appreciate the sacrifices our veterans make for our country. It’s an invaluable experience, but it’s also a huge sacrifice—especially for soldiers with families at home,” Logan said. “They’re putting themselves in physical danger. They’re separating themselves from their families. Then when they come home, they struggled with the transition. They have trouble finding jobs. And in a lot of ways, they feel like they were forgotten as life carried on back home. This is a cause that’s very near and dear to my heart. My experience gave me a special appreciation for the contributions and risks they’ve made.”
In 2013, Sport Clips partnered with Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) to introduce the “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship” program. By providing scholarships for use at post-secondary schools, their goal is to support the country’s armed forces by making the transition from military life to civilian workplace a little easier. To date, Sport Clips has helped to provide more than $2.4 million in scholarships to active duty service members and veterans. Each scholarship is $5,000, and every semester there are multiple recipients—580 so far. This year, the company’s goal is to raise another million.
“The GI Bill certainly helps, but our veterans need more support. These are people with families, and all they want to do is to be able to provide for them the second they return home. A lot of veterans will choose to go back to school, but the problem is, they can’t afford it. The Help a Hero program is our way of extending a helping hand. We’re helping our veterans and their families live the lives they deserve,” Logan said. “As donations came pouring in, we saw that we really were making a difference in people’s lives.”
Jacob Dietz was 18 years old when he enlisted in the Marines. When he returned home after a tour in Afghanistan, he enrolled in DeVry University to study electronics—a decision that he believed would put him on the right track and afford him some stability. With a wife and two young children, he also had to work part time at Lowe’s as a delivery truck driver to support his family—a balancing act that Dietz said became very challenging. But his life soon changed after stopping in his local Sport Clips for a quick haircut.
“While I was getting my hair done at Sport Clips, I learned more about their Help a Hero program. Wondering if I was qualified for a scholarship, I decided to apply, and I was beyond excited to be awarded the opportunity. This scholarship has made life so much easier. It has taken my mind off of how I’m going to pay for school, giving me the chance to finally put all of my energy into my studies,” Dietz said. “For those who have donated to this cause, it means so much for us veterans. We don’t expect these things, and it helps our families and secures our future. To have people help us out that don’t even know who we are means the world.”
Sport Clips first partnered with the VFW back in 2007 to raise funds to provide free phone calls home to hospitalized and overseas U.S. service members—an effort that has helped make possible more than 2.5 million calls home. In 2013, they decided to shift their Help a Hero fundraising focus, and began supporting veterans who were making their way back home. All of Sport Clips’ more than 1,600 locations participate in the company’s Help a Hero fundraiser, often involving the entire community with bake sales, silent auctions and other activities to raise funds.
“Doing good for our veterans has become an integral part of the Sport Clips culture,” Logan said. “Giving back and working together for a common cause is something that everyone believes in here at Sport Clips—it’s a genuine sense of compassion that flows from our corporate team all the way to each of our Team Leaders and their Team Members. It’s so rewarding and humbling to see just how much everyone here cares.”