Local Market to Catch the Wave Through Franchise Expansion; Five New Stores Sought in Next Five Years
July 01, 2008 // Franchising.com // ATLANTA – Flip Flop Shops, the only lifestyle retail franchise to capture the essence of the flip flop connoisseur lifestyle, is preparing to expose its toes in Vancouver. The first retail chain to exclusively sell flip flops and sandals, Flip Flop Shops is looking to expand its one-of-a kind laidback brand with five local stores in the next five years.
The Vancouver expansion announcement is part of a well-managed national growth strategy calling for 236 locations in exclusive markets nationwide in the next five years. With a number of new stores set to open this summer, Flip Flop Shops is targeting, among others, Atlanta, New York City, Orlando, Tampa, the San Francisco Bay area and the Pacific Northwest for expansion.
"Flip flops have evolved into a premium lifestyle necessity, and Flip Flop Shops was created to fill the void in the retail industry," said Darin Kraetsch (size 10), CEO of Flip Flop Shops. "We provide our customers with a "barista" style experience of product knowledge, where they can indulge in all the hottest brands and latest styles at their leisure. Flip Flops Shops is on the leading edge, recognizing the demand and taking this booming specialty retail sector mainstream."
The company's mission is to provide the opportunity for anyone, in any climate, to "live, work and play with their toes exposedtm" while wearing the freedom of flip flops on their feet. Flip flops have grown to become the "global youth uniform", as well as accepted footwear for anyone ranging from surfers to high-level corporate executives. In fact, flip flop sales exceeded those of athletic shoes for the first time in 2006, and flip flop fever has continued to build momentum ever since.
"There are droves of people just as passionate about freeing their toes as we are," said company president Brian Curin (size 10). "By focusing on doing right by our franchisees, our consumers and the hottest brands we carry, we are growing what is destined to become a breakthrough brand with a cult-like following."
Even the smell and sound of each store captures the Flip Flop Shops laid-back, yet adventurous character. Approaching from 15 feet away, coconut suntan oil scent and active lifestyle inspired music begins to tickle the senses and excite the toes of likely customers. "No matter the weather, no matter the season, you will always find the "Free Your Toestm" state-of-mind in every Flip Flop Shops," Curin said.
The first Flip Flop Shops store was opened in September 2004 by retail consultants and entrepreneurial spirits, Todd Giatrelis (size 11) and Sarah Towne (size 9). In January 2008, Flip Flops Shops began franchising under the leadership of Darin Kraetsch (size 10), Alan Woods (size 11) and Brian Curin (size 10).
The executive leadership has experience building and growing some of the world's fastest-growing franchise concepts, category leaders and well-known brands such as Cold Stone Creamery, Moe's Southwest Grill and Nike.
The company is looking to award franchises to people who share the flip flop passion and attitude. People that embody the Free Your Toes lifestyle, love the water, whether it's surfing with friends, or standing on a peaceful shore. They love music, adventure and traveling. They ride powder in the mountains, bike through backcountry trails and raft down whitewater rapids. These people have their own style and keep up on the latest fashion trends. They take care of the environment and help out their favorite charities.
"Our flip flops are an extension of who we are and what we stand for," Curin added. "We live, work and play with our toes exposed while wearing the freedom of flip flops on our feet."
Founded in September 2004, Flip Flop Shops is the nation's first retail chain exclusive to flip flops and sandals. The company began franchising in January 2008. Flip Flop Shops is an Environmentally Responsible Retailer and encourages the nation to free their toes. The executive team boasts more than 50 years of franchise experience building and growing some of the world's fastest-growing franchise concepts, category leaders and some of America's most well-known brands, including Cold Stone Creamery, Moe's Southwest Grill and Nike. With seven locations currently operating, the company plans to franchise 236 stores by 2013.