In 2002 I had my own company as a commercial HVAC contractor. I went into this trade because I saw it as a strong earning opportunity. I was drawn to the construction industry and liked being hands on with building projects.
An opportunity came to do some work for Chatters Canada as at that time they were building locations in Calgary, Manitoba and BC. As a hired contractor for Chatters, I saw their operation up close and developed a strong interest in owning a location. My wife Rene' and I became a Chatters Salon owners.
Not too long after this, came the announcement about the Tommy Gun’s men’s barbershop concept. We were immediately interested. The authentic barber chairs and the brick, the colour scheme, the TV’s and Ipads, everything that is used to create this masculine atmosphere is very appealing for men. It’s cool from a man’s perspective and I could totally see it working very well. In terms of the services and pricing, it was very different from the Chatters model, but we could see the value in how it all worked. We became a Tommy Gun’s franchisee 13 months ago.
There were key individuals at head office who were very helpful to us in the store set up, merchandising, computers and marketing. They did all they could to help us get started and we have seen first-hand that the support does not stop at store opening. The Franchisor-Franchisee relationship is one that grows along with you, encouraging your store success in many ways.
Since that time we’ve observed some interesting things. In addition to the natural draw the concept brings, customers and general public are very interested in the historic pictures on the walls. These are definitely a wow factor. What is fun to see, is people even walking by the shop, stop and point at the bubble hockey, the chairs and just show a genuine interest and liking for our store design. It draws people in to take a closer look and discover the Tommy Gun’s experience.
We have seen others try to imitate the experience but in my opinion these will never compare, because Tommy Gun’s can’t be duplicated, especially in the same detail, with all the bells and whistles. From the flooring to the counters, the brick work and bold colour schemes, plus in-mirror televisions and self-check queuing system, Tommy Gun’s dominates and totally nails the men’s barbershop experience.
You add up all these perks and you truly have a wow experience for men and boys. We’ve seen mothers come in with their little boys, so pleased that they’re not crying in the chair anymore. It’s just that comfortable an atmosphere. It helps that we have the Ipads and televisions too, so anyone can catch up on email, surf the web or watch some sports highlights.
We are very pleased with the Tommy Gun’s concept and its popularity. You know you have a great system when the customers are very happy to be there and are finding ways to come back as often as they can. For this reason and the successes we've had in our short time as an owners, we'll be taking on another location as soon as the opportunity arises.