Children’s Orchard CEO Taylor Bond claims, in a recent press release, that as it celebrates its 30th anniversary, his troubled company continues to be the leader and trailblazer of the “upscale resale franchise concept.”
He claims that his recent operational and franchise innovations “have helped to increase store inventories, boosted customer traffic and satisfaction, and resulted in an overall increase in store sales.”
Bond also claims the changes are attracting savvy prospective franchise owners: “we’re attracting a greater number of business owners who see us…for the sophisticated business model we offer.”
Taylor Bond states: “Customers and franchise owners alike are giving us rave reviews.”
Are Children’s Orchard Franchise Owners Giving “Rave Reviews”?
If these claims are true, Children’s Orchard CEO Taylor Bond is engineering a turnaround that’s nothing short of amazing.
Just last year, disgruntled Children’s Orchard franchise owners launched the OrchardCooperative.org website to protest Taylor Bond’s management and franchise policies and practices. According to the site,
“Many franchisees—after years in the business—have yet to make a profit, and many are being forced to close shop. Under Mr. Bond’s leadership, the number of stores has declined steadily from 86 in 2004, to 77 in 2007, to 71 in 2008, and to 61 in 2009. A handful of others are expected to close their doors this year.”
Currently, the number of stores listed on the Children’s Orchard site is just 51, down from nearly one hundred at one time. While Children’s Orchard stores have been closing, competitors seem to be thriving with similar concepts.
The statements and Taylor Bond quotes come from a 30th Anniversary press release (“Nation’s First Children’s Resale Franchise Reveals Business Model for Future”) issued by the company and posted on Franchising.com, Ann Arbor Biz and a handful of franchise blogs. Here are excerpts from the press release outlining the improvements claimed by Children’s Orchard:
Children’s Orchard Operational Improvements
“Larger stores, a reconfigured layout, and an emphasis on convenience and shopability…”
“…no-appointment-needed Walk-In Buying (with the industry’s only 20 minute guarantee) and seasonal Tent Sales”
“…we’ve enhanced the process by which we buy clothes from customers, and we’ve improved efficiency of back-end operations. Customers and franchise owners alike are giving us rave reviews.”
“The addition of these new elements to its business model, first tested at the company’s flagship location in Ann Arbor, Michigan, have helped to increase store inventories, boosted customer traffic and satisfaction, and resulted in an overall increase in store sales”
Children’s Orchard Online Store
“in March 2010 Children’s Orchard rolled out its online store at www.childorchstore.com”
“Children’s Orchard’s new online store gives moms access to a variety of brand-new products, ranging from eco-friendly handbags to kids toys to software that helps parents monitor their children’s Internet usage.
“Unlike any other children’s resale store, each Children’s Orchard store’s website offers its customers the chance to preview items that have just arrived at their nearest location. They’re called “Just In! Listings” and customers love them.”
“The franchise has also secured marketing partnerships with such well-known ebrands as Net Nanny® and JumpStart®.
“In addition, Children’s Orchard has launched a Social Media campaign on Facebook, engaging its customers through a series of contests and giveaways, and also launched a recipe exchange website designed for today’s busy moms.
Children’s Orchard New Franchise Requirements
“As part of the evolution to a more sophisticated business model, Children’s Orchard has elevated the capital criteria for new franchise owners. ‘We’ve raised the required net worth to reflect a new mindset: it’s not just about operating a store, but about building a business,’ Bond added.”
“’Over the last 30 years, we’ve grown a loyal, nationwide following of Children’s Orchard brand advocates. Most of our franchise owners came from this pool of devoted customers,’ Bond said. ‘And as Children’s Orchard® brings resale shopping into the next century, we’re attracting a greater number of business owners who see us not just for the quality products and services we provide, but for the sophisticated business model we offer.’”
ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE CHILDREN’S ORCHARD FRANCHISE? WHAT DO YOU THINK? ARE STORE SALES RISING? HAS TAYLOR BOND TURNED THINGS AROUND? SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.