Retail Franchise Business Leaping In To New Markets

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More is leaping forward month after month, opening new franchise locations throughout the U.S.

With its commitment to customer service, its fun-but-fast shopping experience and its personalized support for a growing family of franchisees, in just three years, Big Frog Custom T-Shirts has grown from a single storefront in Clearwater to 36 franchises from Pennsylvania to California.

Last month Big Frogs opened in Valrico and Brooksville, FL. This month, stores will open in Athens, GA; Charlotte, NC; and Denver, CO.

Three things set the Big Frog retail concept apart from the competition: an on-site graphic artist who helps customers design their T-shirts at no charge, no minimum-order requirement, and guaranteed delivery within 24 hours.

So if a customer wants a special T-shirt for a child's birthday, a school event, a foot race or you-name-it, that customer becomes the director and helps design the look s/he wants.

"Perfect" is a word often heard in Big Frog stores because the customers oversee the art work until, in their eyes, it is perfect.

Because customers leave satisfied, 40 percent of Big Frog's revenues come from referrals and 25 percent from repeat business.

Unlike screen-printers, Big Frog uses an environmentally friendly, direct-to-garment printer. "We use all eco-friendly dyes. We have organic, recycled and bamboo shirts. There are no by-products or waste products," Chief Operating Frog and co-founder Ron DeFrece says.

Owners get weeks-long training and ongoing support in securing a location, opening the store and developing systems to ensure long-term success.

"Franchising has a lot of strengths," DeFrece says. "There's a lot of strength in having a community of like-minded individuals with similar goals, being able to share ideas, cooperative marketing efforts and buying power." Big Frog is experiencing growth that rivals those seen on Inc.'s Top 500 list. The business could grow faster but the owners are controlling growth to better support the franchises.

"They become part of our family," DeFrece explained. "We support and guide them. We talk to all of them once, if not twice, a week. We're a tight-knit group of people.

"We have a number of accountants, bankers, who are franchisees. People you wouldn't expect to dive into retail. They want to have fun. I have one banker in St. Louis who purchased us. He's 68 and decided that for once in his life, he wanted to sell something people wanted to buy. Now, he's a happy business owner," DeFrece said.

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533 Main St.
Dunedin, FL

Phone: (727) 286-8985
Fax: (727) 230-7013

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