A Slam-Dunk Business Idea
In the early 1990s, Gordon Logan recognized the huge potential and relative lack of competition in the men’s and boys’ haircut market. To take advantage of this gap, Logan assembled a group of passionate industry professionals to work together to develop the unique Sport Clips Haircuts concept which included groundbreaking new haircutting systems, operating procedures, and marketing programs designed to fully capitalize on this large, underserved market.
Logan pioneered the concept, and Sport Clips’ rapid yet controlled growth has become a textbook example of how to do things right. When you ask Logan if he knew Sport Clips would be one of the fastest growing franchise systems today, in its 22nd year, he’ll answer you, “Yes, I just didn’t think it would take this long.”
An MIT and Wharton School of Business graduate, Logan served as a pilot in the Air Force and has a background in engineering and accounting. During his early CPA career Logan discovered a business opportunity he thought on paper to be “printing money,” it appeared so successful. He bought into a franchised system of salons that would later file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. He and his wife Bettye, a licensed stylist, then opened their own salon business from which a trusted employee embezzled funds and almost ruined the company. So his success has not come easily, but through sheer determination and by following the advice of his friend Coach Lou Holtz: “Do your best.
Do what’s right. Treat others the way they want to be treated.”
In the early 90s there were numerous salon chains marketing to the broad audience, the “family haircutter;” but none were targeting the men’s and boys’ haircut market. Barbershops had been declining in number for many years, and men and boys were being left by the wayside as their favorite barbers closed up shop.
Men’s and boys’ hair care is a large niche with very little direct competition, and delivery of the service is fairly simple to execute.
Logan opened the prototype Sport Clips store in Austin in June 1993, with cash flow from his then-existing full service salon business, focusing on providing men’s and boys’ hair care in a comfortable, quick, and easy, sports-themed environment. He made the decision to franchise Sport Clips in 1995, which had its challenges – such as convincing someone to invest with only one store open. The first investor was an Austin-area businessman who bought six licenses, a great boost to the franchise’s beginnings. From Austin Sport Clips expanded into Houston, Dallas, and, to help minimize travel expenses, based its further expansion plans on “where Southwest Airlines flew.”
A Game Plan for Growth
Sport Clips’ first years saw slow and purposeful growth. It took five years to open the first 50 stores. But by 2007, Sport Clips celebrated the opening of its 400th and 500th store in the same year.
In 2012 the franchise expanded into Canada. Sport Clips will soon open in its 50th U.S. state, and has 1,333 stores open. Even more impressive for a franchise system of this size, only one store closed in 2014, and a total of only four have closed since 2010, two of them lease renewals with no good options for relocation – truly a sign of a well-run franchise system.
Logan established Sport Clips as an owner-investor franchise. Austin and Las Vegas remain company stores where new concepts and training methods are tested. Area Developers oversee segments of the country and own at least one store each, and franchisees (called “Team Leaders”) own units in all 50 states. Sport Clips was named a top 100 global franchise for the first time in 2015, is ranked by Entrepreneur as one of the Top 10 “Fastest-Growing Franchises,” and ranks 36th in the “Franchise 500.” It is also ranked by FORBES as a “Top Ten Best Franchise” to buy for its investment category.
To attract and retain top talent, Logan has been careful to establish and maintain core values, many based on Coach Holtz’ training materials that encourage team members to treat others the way they would like to be treated. Sport Clips’ athletic décor and televisions tuned to sports; a unique vacuum system to keep stores spotless; proprietary haircutting system and training; signature MVP haircut experience/hot towel treatment; shampoo area designed for both stylist and client comfort; padded cutting area floors; and top retail product partnerships are just a few examples of Logan’s Sport Clips brand innovations.
The Logans remain at the forefront of growth in the salon industry. Logan served as president of the International SalonSpa Business Network (ISBN, the trade association representing over 20,000 salons) from 2008 to 2012, and remains on the Board of Directors. In May 2015 Gordon was named an EY (Ernst & Young) Entrepreneur Of The Year® award winner for Consumer Products. Together with Bettye, and son Gordon Edward, the Logans work daily with the Sport Clips team and other industry professionals on new services, concepts, and avenues for delivery.
Teamwork with Heart
Logan is the driving force behind the company’s culture of giving back and supporting those who serve. The Logan family made a pledge in 2013 to donate $1 million to Georgetown, Texas-area nonprofits, and have been recognized for their philanthropic work with numerous programs including Habitat for Humanity, R.O.C.K, and the Boys and Girls Club.
As a veteran, Logan has made it his mission to support the military. He has received the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ famed “Citizenship Award;” Sport Clips is the “Official Haircutter” of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), offering veterans preferential pricing on haircuts and franchises; and the company was named as one of the “2014 Best for Vets: Franchises” by Military Times. Sport Clips team members and clients have contributed more than $3,000,000 to support the VFW Foundation through its “Help A Hero” program to help deployed and hospitalized U.S. service members call home through the VFW’s Operation Uplink™ and to provide scholarships for veterans transitioning to civilian careers.
Sport Clips has supported, and currently supports, numerous veteran services organizations, including the Aleethia Foundation, which provides nights out at premier restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area for soldiers undergoing treatment/rehab at Bethesda and their families; Honor Flight Network, which provides WWII Veterans the opportunity to visit Washington to see the WWII memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and other memorials built in their honor; Ageless Aviation Dreams, giving WWII Veterans rides in Stearman biplanes, which many of them flew in pilot training; and equestrian therapy programs, among other worthwhile programs. Sport Clips is also actively engaged in the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program, and numerous veterans have joined Sport Clips as Team Leaders. Logan is the incoming program chairman, having served as a veteran mentor.
Under Logan’s leadership, and rooted in three simple but solid principles – “Do your best. Do what’s right. Treat others the way they want to be treated.” – Sport Clips continues to be one of the fastest-growing haircare franchises in the nation, and remains committed to being a business that gives back along the way.
For more information about Sport Clips franchise opportunities, visit http://www.sportclipsfranchise.com/.