Prior to opening the prototype Sport Clips in 1993, Gordon Logan owned and operated salons throughout Texas. He served as President of the International SalonSpa Business Network (ISBN, the trade association for multi-unit operators representing over 20,000 salons and spas in the US and Canada) from 2008 to 2012 and remains on the Board of Directors.
Gordon serves on the VFW Foundation Board, which directs the charitable efforts of the VFW for active duty service men and women and veterans. He was recently elected to the Board of the International Franchise Association (IFA), is a member of the IFA VetFran Committee, and is Chairman of the VetFran Mentor Program for veterans.
MO: How did you get started in the salon business?
Gordon: In 1978 I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a new hair salon franchise which led to my becoming a franchisee of Command Performance, a full-service salon concept. I left Price Waterhouse in 1980 to pursue my dream of controlling my own destiny as a business owner. After Command Performance went through a bankruptcy and was sold several times, another franchisee and I bought the system and became franchisors in 1991.
MO: Prior to becoming a salon owner you served as an Aircraft Commander in the U.S. Air Force. Did the time your served influence the direction or vision of your business model or strategy?
Gordon: Not so much the vision….I never imagined being in the salon business! But the lessons learned in the USAF have served me well through the years…..pay attention to detail, take care of your men (and/or women), diligently execute the system, and be sensitive to different people and cultures. The military gives young people a tremendous amount of responsibility far above what they would have in private enterprise, and this causes you to grow up pretty quickly!
MO: When you first launched Sport Clips did you initially have a franchising model in mind or was it an idea that grew organically as the business expanded?
Gordon: We developed Sport Clips from the beginning to be a franchise. I learned a lot from my prior experience as a franchisee on how NOT to run a franchise, and I was determined to do it right this time! We operated our prototype store for over two years to ensure that the systems were working properly, that we had the systems and people in place to adequately support our franchisees, and that Sport Clips was in fact a viable concept. We have always believed that as franchisors we should validate our ideas in our own stores before asking our franchisees to implement them in their stores.
MO: Can you elaborate on how your commitment to veterans translates into your business model?
Gordon: We have been the Official Haircutter of the VFW for about ten years. Working closely with the VFW, Sport Clips Franchisees, Stylists and Clients have contributed almost $2,000,000 to the VFW Foundation to support our active duty men and women and our Veterans. We have been active participants in the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program, and have given hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of discounted franchise fees to our Franchisees who are Veterans, to encourage and enable them to get into business for themselves as Sport Clips Franchisees. We have recently committed $1,000,000 over the next ten years to support charities serving Veterans and children – we strongly believe that giving back is an obligation we have to those who have given so much to us.
MO: How do you maintain a sense of quality control when overseeing such an immense number of franchise? How important is it that each franchisee upholds the values and mission that has made Sport Clips such a successful brand?
Gordon: Quality control and consistency is key to the success of any brand, and franchising presents some unique challenges in this regard. First of all, we filter franchisee applicants very carefully, selecting only those who have a track record of success building teams, who understand the power of a brand and the importance of working within the system. We have someone in each store at least once each quarter to ensure that the systems are being executed properly, and to make recommendations to our Franchisees as to how they can improve operations and profitability. We solicit Client feedback so they can tell us how they think we are doing, and how we can improve. The success of this system is demonstrated by the fact that in the past few years we have opened well over 250 stores and only one has ceased operations. I don’t know of any other franchise our size that can match that record, of which we are very proud. We take our responsibility to our Franchisees very seriously, and work very hard to help them succeed.
MO: Sport Clips is ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top 20 “Fastest-Growing Franchises,” and in the top 10 percent of the “Franchise 500. What do you think has been your secret to success and how do you plan to keep the momentum going?
Gordon: First of all, we have a strong concept that makes sense to our Clients, our Stylists and to our Franchisees. Also extremely important, we are very careful about whom we invite to become franchisees. We have always been a very training and support-intensive system, which means our Franchisees and Team Members have the tools they need to be successful. We subscribe to the Japanese concept of “Kaizen”, which is continual incremental improvements. We believe that our success is dependent upon the success of our Franchisees, and we work to increase same store sales and profitability each year. The past three years our stores have seen same store sales increases of 9%-10%-9%, and are on track to replicate that record this year. Profitable Franchisees make a strong system!
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