How John and Patti Prichard manage Fantastic Sams’ largest multi-unit franchise groupJuly 17, 2018
With 27 locations, commitment, balance are key to making this family business opportunity a success
A business partnership is a delicate and complex relationship, one that requires both parties to devote an equal amount of energy and dedication. It can be a balancing act. When times are good, both partners weave their individual contributions together to create a solid structure. Then in more difficult times, one person is there to pick up the pieces if the other should falter.
A business partnership is like a marriage. Without trust, commitment and passion, it just doesn’t work.
Perhaps that’s why the partnership behind Fantastic Sams’ biggest multi-unit group is so successful. John and Patti Prichard own 25 Fantastic Sams and two Camille Albane salons in the Minneapolis area. They aren’t just business partners — they are a husband-and-wife team.
“We’re totally committed, and we’re committed together,” says Patti. “I think it would be hard to have what we have and not do it together. We’re both so devoted; otherwise the business would put a strain on the marriage. We’re 100% committed to the success of our business and our people.”
“If you’re going to have a business that has a lot of people and salons and operations, it does take a team,” emphasizes John. “Patti and I, as owners, are extremely committed to the business.”
Building confidence and leadership skills
The Prichards first became Fantastic Sams salon owners in 2004 when they signed a multipack agreement for three salons. They purchased an existing store in Blaine, MN, and they opened a new salon in the same city shortly thereafter. They slowly grew their domain by one or two salons a year, finding locations where owners wanted to leave or available areas that were good markets for Fantastic Sams. They initially thought they would end up with 15 or 20 salons, but more than two dozen salons later, they now have the largest Fantastic Sams multi-unit group.
Patti and John rely on each other as much as they rely on the 275 employees who make up their company, Kingdom Business, Inc. They both feel as though becoming business owners, and leaders, has helped them in more ways than one.
“It’s given me more confidence,” says John, a sentiment he shares with his wife. “I felt good in my jobs in the past, but I did feel that taking leadership in the business and growing and doing it together helped our confidence.”
Jumping into a family business opportunity was in many ways a leap of faith for John and Patti. When John lost his senior management job at a local baking company, where he’d worked for 24 years, he felt it was time for a big change. After spending a few months considering various business opportunities, they decided to become Fantastic Sams franchise hair salon owners.
Growth potential in strong industry
“We realized there was a lot of growth opportunity in the hair care market,” explains John. “I liked the full-service, full-family concept where we could serve the whole family. I didn’t know anything about the salon industry until I started researching, but this seemed like a good opportunity.”
Managing a family together — they raised three children and now have four grandchildren with twins on the way — is one thing, running a company is another. John and Patti had to figure out each other’s strengths and realize their individual contributions to succeed. They are both significant players in the company, and they know how to work off each other.
“We have different gifts that we bring,” says Patti. “John deals with the finances of the business, and I work with the people and the operations. We’re not working over each other as much as we’re working together because we have separate jobs.”
“Once, Patti kicked me out of a meeting because she needed to lead it,” quips John.
A true family enterprise
Together, they have created a strong, dependable team. Their son coordinates repairs, their daughter-in-law provides human resources, and they have a team of staffing directors and managers. John and Patti try to impact the lives of everyone who works for them, providing not only training but financial classes — it’s important to them that everyone who works for their company finds success. That also means helping everyone have that coveted work/life balance. The Prichards recently made the decision to close their salons on Sundays so everyone could spend more time with their families. They feel it’s their calling to serve employees by giving them a faith and family day.
“Every day we have the opportunity to make an impact on someone’s life,” says Patti. “We have the opportunity to help them have successful careers and love what they do. That filters into having happy clients and our business being successful. It’s a win-win. It’s an amazing opportunity.”
“We’re providing jobs and trying to figure out how we can make a bigger difference in this industry as far as education and training,” says John.
The key is commitment
Having a work-life balance is important for the Prichards as well, and it’s one of the reasons they wanted to become business owners. John says they are both intent on staying connected to their grandkids and adult children. They admit sometimes they need to work hard to keep their business separate from their lives at home.
“Besides our faith and our family, our salon business is what we eat, sleep and breathe,” says Patti. “We pour everything we have into our business.”
While they admit the job is 24/7, they can take it with them anywhere. Patti says sometimes their daughter, who lives in Chicago, will ask her to visit to help take care of their grandchild. “I can just pick up and be gone for a week,” says Patti. “But John can’t live without me that long.”
The Prichards celebrated their 41st anniversary in May — their marriage, and their business partnership, is going strong. They hope to someday work part-time and take even more advantage of the flexibility their positions offer. The key to their success lies not only in their dedication to their company, but in their commitment to each other.
“Us being so committed while working together has helped us be successful and do what we do and grow,” says John. “We wouldn’t be able to do this without each other.”