×

Salon chain wants its cut

For many businesses across America, the economic recession over the past couple of years has been devastating.

For others, though, business has been, well, fantastic, in spite of hard times.

At least that’s the reasoning behind international salon chain Fantastic Sams’ plans to expand in New Hampshire, with a goal to open 20 new franchise locations in the state over the next five years.

“We’re pursuing aggressive development in all of the locations we currently can develop in across the U.S.,” Fantastic Sams CEO Scott Colabuono said. “We see the brand coming out of this recession as a very strong indicator of success in the small-business market.”

Fantastic Sams Hair Salons is a nearly 1,300-unit full-service hair care and professional hair salon franchise that caters to men, women and children across the United States and in Canada. The franchise offers a complete range of salon services, including haircuts and styles, straightening, coloring, highlights and texturing, as well as beard and mustache grooming, facial waxing and rejuvenating hair treatments.

“We find that the recession has helped us because we have so many clients that come in and say, ‘I paid (higher prices) for my color, and I come here and get half the cost!’” said Jeanne Degen, Fantastic Sams New Hampshire franchisee and stylist educator. “We do better retaining higher-end clients that don’t want to spend the money.”

Degen owns a Fantastic Sams in Manchester, which has been open for 8 years, at 373 S. Willow St. There is one other Fantastic Sams location in New Hampshire, in Manchester at 35 Hamel Drive, as well as one in nearby Tyngsborough, Mass., at 440 Middlesex Road.

Over the next 12 months though, Colabuono said he’d like to see four or five Sams open up in New Hampshire near the state’s top population centers.

“When you look at the population centers, most of them are in the central and southern parts of the state,” Colabuono said.

In Nashua, the company hopes to have five to eight locations open within five years.

If the franchise blossoms here, though, Colabuono said he could see locations opening across New Hampshire and in the northern region of the state, in towns such as Hanover, where university towns offer opportunities for success.

Nashua’s population of just over 86,000 means it could have “at least three salons properly spaced,” Colabuono said. “Manchester could easily do three, maybe four, Concord could do two. They could do one in Derry, one in Dover, one in Rochester, one in Salem … It’s just a matter of focusing and getting it done in the towns up and down New Hampshire.”

With every franchise that opens, Fantastic Sams offers 10 to 15 full-time positions plus part-time jobs, Colabuono said.

From a franchisee’s standpoint, you don’t have to be an expert in the salon industry to start a Sams location on your own, Colabuono said.

It does require, however, roughly $250,000 in assets and $60,000 of liquidity for franchisees to get going, Colabuono said.

The salon industry itself is about a $50 billion to $60 billion industry in the United States, Colabuono said.

With that in mind, Colabuono said it doesn’t take franchisees long to break even and to start making a profit once they open.

“It really depends on the owner, but what we say is between three and six months,” Colabuono said. “It depends on how aggressively they go out to acquire customers. Some like to take it slow and easy so it takes them a little bit longer.”

Degen, who serves as the corporate educator for Fantastic Sams’ northeast locations, provides franchisees much of the support they need to get started.

“If you’re a franchisee, we have what’s called ‘Salon Sentimentals’ and it gives them everything you can imagine to run a franchise,” Degen said. “We have a DVD that goes back with them. It’s soup to nuts.”

Those interested in becoming a Fantastic Sams franchisee can register at www.fantasticsamsfranchises.com. For information on Fantastic Sams products and services, visit www.fantasticsams.com.

Maryalice Gill can be reached at 594-6490 or mgill@nashuatelegraph.com