Ever since its inception in 1982, Great Clips has been leading the salon industry forward with one very simple strategy: always putting the customer first. Today, it’s clear that tactic continues to work in Great Clips’ favor—this billion-dollar empire celebrated the opening of its 4,000th salon last year, and today, it has more than 4,091 locations nationwide.
Now, Great Clips is looking to take its time-tested model even further—the fast-growing brand has its sights set on Canada for continued development. With 149 salons located throughout the country already, Great Clips recently added new Canadian territories to its expanding domain—the province of Saskatchewan and London, Ontario. Later this year, the brand will also make its debut in Winnipeg. This development comes as Great Clips welcomes its first-ever Canadian Business Services Director to help spearhead the region’s growth. Construction is also in the works for a new Canadian headquarters in Toronto, which is slated to open this year.
“Canada represents a lot of untapped growth potential for Great Clips. We’ve already seen firsthand how the brand thrives in this international market with the help of pioneering franchisees. And now, by offering specific support with our new Canadian Business Services Director and headquarters in Canada, we’ll be able to drive brand presence and growth even further,” said Beth Caron, the director of franchise development.
Randy Klassen, a multi-unit franchisee based in Vancouver, can personally attest to the vast potential throughout Canada. In search of a new adventure and a new challenge, Klassen joined the brand via a franchisee partnership in 2006. Today, along with his two business partners, he has 14 active salons throughout British Columbia and 11 in Alberta.
“It starts with building one salon, and that in itself is like a sprint—you just have to go for it. Then, as you continue to expand, you have to pace yourself a little bit. We’re fortunate to have a brand like Great Clips. From finding locations, handling real estate negotiations and everything in between, Great Clips is right there with you,” Klassen said. “And when it comes to running the day to day business, you have a lot of people there to support you—from business services to marketing. We look at Great Clips as collaborators, not franchisors.”
Great Clips’ proven franchise system, strong corporate leadership and unparalleled support structure have all allowed Klassen to finally enjoy the lifestyle he and his wife have always dreamed about.
“We went from simply going out and vacationing to being able to embark on a real adventure. In the time we’ve been Great Clips franchisees, we’ve picked up trail running. We’ve gone off to explore other parts of the world. In fact, last October, we traveled to Nepal, where we made it up to the Mt. Everest base camp,” Klassen said. “It was such a significant obstacle to overcome, and I don’t think we would have been able to accomplish such a feat before Great Clips—this brand has afforded us a level of flexibility and security that we couldn’t find anywhere else.”
Klassen is just one of many franchisees helping the brand strengthen its footprint throughout Canada. Based out of Toronto, Nathalie Paradis has also found success with Great Clips in Canada. With two young children at home, a full-time corporate job and a husband who also worked a full-time job, finding the right balance in life was difficult for Paradis. She was travelling nearly 22 weeks out of the year, and her husband was frequently traveling from place to place, too. Oftentimes, neither could be available to rush home in case of an emergency. That’s when Paradis realized it was time for a change.
“I owned a business before in my life. I knew it was a lot of work, but I also knew that it was a very different kind of work when compared to corporate,” Paradis said. “After talking to different Great Clips franchisees, I knew it was a good match. Their philosophy to give back to the community and their appreciation for teamwork and treating their employees well really appealed to me.”
What Paradis found after investing in a Great Clips salon was something much more meaningful than she could have ever experienced at her corporate job—the chance to give back to her community.
“It’s not only important that the community embrace you as a new business owner in their city. As an owner, it’s important for your heart and soul to drive your business. With this salon—and with the others that I hope to eventually open—I’m providing work for families, and giving them a chance to be successful and make a living for themselves,” Paradis said. “I’ve really found that at Great Clips, the sky is the limit, and that makes me so excited for what the future holds. This is just the beginning—for me personally and for the brand throughout Canada.”