Are More Franchisees De-branding, Going Independent?

The Great Clips in Albert Lea, MN’s Northbridge Mall is now The Image, an independent salon.

Two veteran Great Clips stylists bought the location from none other than Great Clips founder David Rubenzer.

After consulting with Rubenzer (according to the Albert Lea Tribune), the former Great Clips employees decided to shed the franchise brand and reopen the salon as The Image Hair Salon.  According to the article, the primary motive for de-franchising was financial:

Goodmanson and her husband, Phil, met with then-owner and Great Clips founder David Rubenzer to discuss options that included buying the salon and remaining a Great Clips or closing and re-opening separately.

It was decided that re-opening separately would be advantageous because it would relieve the new owners of franchise fees…

In addition to a desire to escape unwanted fees, the new owners also wanted the freedom to make changes to the concept that might not have been allowed by Great Clips:

“We’re a full-service salon with chain prices,” Goodmanson said. “We liked Great Clips’ concept of affordable prices and walk-ins but wanted to offer additional services. Unlike many full-service salons, we’ll be open seven days a week.”

The Northbridge Mall Great Clips was not struggling.  In fact, Goodmanson states “Our Great Clips store saw a considerable growth last year… We saw a customer increase of 37 percent.”  And the new owners are honest about their intention to implement what they learned with Great Clips to boost their new independent salon:

…the owners are using the same marketing philosophy they learned at Great Clips while adding the luxuries of a hair salon…

“We’ve gotten tremendous training through Great Clips that we will be able to use going forth in this endeavor.”

The new owners cited two reasons for de-franchising what they acknowledge is a successful salon:  to gain more freedom and escape unwanted fees.

Do you think this could be a growing trend in franchising?

Is the current economy forcing franchisors to demonstrate greater value for their fees and greater justification for the restrictions they place on their franchise owners?

What do you think?  Share a comment below.

3 thoughts on “Are More Franchisees De-branding, Going Independent?

  • January 12, 2010 at 12:23 am
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    I’m surprised that the zor did not veto continuing at the same business at the same location.

    Most franchise agreements prohibit ‘debranding’ within 10 miles of a franchised location.

  • January 13, 2010 at 11:03 am
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    Jim:
    I found that surprising, too, that the franchisor would let a successful, growing franchise location go independent. I’d imagine these two stylists will maintain their same clients and probably the rest of the staff and their clients, as well.

    I’d also imagine that the fact that the seller is Great Clips founder David Rubenzer had something to do with it. Perhaps he had a special arrangement rather than a standard franchise agreement.

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