What Makes a Good Location?

Opening your hair salon franchise where people already shop is key

A big part of success in any business is location, and that’s a key part of our strategy at Fantastic Sams. Our customer calling card is all about convenience, so that’s the most important factor in any of our salon locations.

Our business model works well in areas where there’s a certain density of middle-income families — perhaps 30,000 rooftops within a 3-mile radius. Over the years we’ve learned that our customers are looking for free parking and easy-in, easy-out access. Fantastic Sams Hair Salons work best in shopping areas anchored by big-box concentration centers such as grocery and drug stores, places where people are likely to go shopping two to four times a week.

That’s when our walk-in model pays off. If a customer knows she can drop off her husband and the kids for haircuts while she does the weekly shopping, drop the groceries at home and then pack the husband and kids off to the soccer game while she gets her color done, it’s a win-win.

Earl Wise owns several Fantastic Sams salons in the suburbs surrounding Detroit, including the salon with the highest-average weekly guest count and highest-average weekly sales in our system. He understands what it takes to be successful as a franchise owner. “Location is extremely important,” he says. “Having an anchor store in a good location is key.”

If you can build a 1,200-square-foot shop in retail space that is seen by about 20,000 cars a day, in an easily accessible area near or in the midst of densely populated neighborhoods, you’ll be starting strong right out of the gate.

Fantastic Sams franchise: part of the community

Part of finding the right location is making sure the shopping center has a lot of foot traffic and includes a high-frequency retailer, which helps us intersect with the customers we want. Our support team helps franchisees pinpoint the best locations to start new salons, reviewing and rating site selections and calling on our existing relationships with commercial brokers.

One of the things we advise when someone first opens in a new space is to send the stylists to the retail neighbors bearing gifts of discount coupons. It’s a great way to get to know neighbors, while generating some early business and word-of-mouth. And it’s a great way to start carving out your niche in the community, which is an important piece of the marketing puzzle.

The salon needs to be large enough to accommodate eight chairs, as well as shampoo stations, a front desk and a storage area for products. Our benchmark for customers is about 250 or more per week, although obviously our more successful franchisees handle many, many more. With the New Image Salon, product takes center stage and the customer comes in anticipating a great salon experience. This idea is reinforced when they begin interacting with professional, courteous and knowledgeable salon staff and stylists — all of which is accomplished through our extensive training programs.

LaRonda Hunter owns four salons in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including one that’s in the Fantastic Sams Top 50. She says she can attribute some of that success to the Saginaw, Texas, salon’s location.

“I knew nothing about the hair salon business whatsoever. That’s actually why I decided to buy a franchise versus trying to open my own business,” LaRonda says. “I knew I’d need help in learning the ropes. I wanted access to people who could teach me. Fantastic Sams has certainly done that for me. I have a manager and stylists who always want to do their best. They help me be successful. They work at it, and it makes all the difference in the world to the bottom line. Of course, your location can make a big difference. My Top 50 salon is in a great location with a lot of foot traffic.”

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