Oh, Canada! Bringing walk-in hair salons to a growing market

By Beth Caron

I recently attended the Canadian Franchise Association annual meeting in Ottawa—which happens to be where I was born and raised, so it felt like a true homecoming. Ottawa is such a beautiful city, and even though I now consider myself to be from the land of “Minnesota Nice,” well, Canadians take that to a whole new level. (Based on what I experienced at the CFA meeting, it’s time for us to up our game, fellow Minnesotans!)

Great Clips knows that Canada is a great place to grow our brand—late last year we opened the 150th salon in Canada. In 2017, we opened a headquarters in Toronto and hired both an operations director and a marketing manager. Right now, we’re looking for a real estate manager. (Let me know if you know a great candidate!) And, we’re always talking with prospective franchisees who are anxious to invest in their own walk-in hair salons. (Let me know if you know a great candidate!)

Because of our continued commitment to establish more Great Clips salons in Canada, it was great to be surrounded at the CFA event by others who are similarly committed. Here are some of my takeaways from the convention:

MAKING AN ECONOMIC IMPACT

The CFA released their economic impact report that tells the story of the role franchising plays in Canada’s economy:

-It’s the 12th largest industry in the country

-There are more than 1,300 franchised brands

-75,000 franchised units provide 1.5M full-time jobs, accounting for $16B in federal taxation revenue

The message was clear: Franchising in Canada is in the big leagues, and there is a lot to get excited about. It reinforced our commitment to bringing Great Clips to a country with so much growth opportunity.

DREAM BUILDERS

The CFA also launched their new logo and purpose/mission statement: Helping everyday Canadians realize their dream of building their own business.

I like their emphasis on everyday citizens. It’s such an indication of their intent to help Canadians from all walks of life build a legacy business of their own.

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

I was impressed by how transparent the organization was about the challenges franchisees face. Many of the challenges are the same ones faced by franchisees in the U.S.: a competitive labor market, limited real estate locations, minimum wage requirements, etc. But, everyone who spoke during the sessions reinforced how hungry the country is for the services provided by franchisors. And despite the challenges, the projection is that the industry as a whole will continue to grow—adding another 5000-plus franchised units across Canada in 2018.

The entire event made me think that Great Clips is in the right place at the right time. I was surrounded by people who were eager to soak up every bit of information they could in order to start or grow their brand in this promising market. I’ll share some more takeaways in another blog, but for now, let me leave you with this memory:

Poutine. Specifically: Smoke’s Poutinerie—an edgy franchised restaurant with attitude. I got to enjoy a sampling of this perfect poutine, and the people running the franchise are just as fun as their product. It will be the greatest day ever if they expand into the Twin Cities (although if they did, their business wouldn’t be the only thing expanding—ooof!).

 

Want to talk about the impressive business opportunities happening in Canada (and compare favorite foods from the land of my birth)? Give me a call or send me a note. I’d love to talk some Canadian with you!

MORE: Great Clips goes 150 for Canada’s 150th

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