March 17, 2009 // Franchising.com // Atlanta – As the nation's first retail chain exclusive to flip flops and sandals, Flip Flop Shops is riding high on the soaring, cult-like popularity of flips flops and the "Free-Your-Toes" movement it is promoting from coast to coast. But for Flip Flop Shops CEO Darin Kraetsch and President Brian Curin, they have found another mission they are equally passionate about – helping to provide footwear for the millions of shoeless and footsore individuals worldwide.
To this effect, Flip Flops Shops has just announced a partnership with Soles4Souls, an international charity that has distributed more than 4 million donated pairs of new and gently used shoes to people in over 70 countries.
"Partnering with Soles4Souls was natural for us," said Curin (size 10). "Soles4Souls reflects fundamental aspects of the Flip Flop Shops brand and culture. This decision was more than an act of corporate philanthropy; this was the alignment of two organizations that are passionate about helping those in need by providing footwear and the independence, confidence and support associated with a pair of shoes."
Flip Flop Shops has launched a broad scale campaign to bring the partnership to fruition at existing and soon-to-open Flip Flop Shops locations throughout North America. With three shops in operation and 20 shops under development, Flip Flop Shops will promote it's "Free Your Toes…Bring Your Soles" events by hosting shoe drives at each Grand Opening and will offer discounts to customers that donate to Soles4Souls. Flip Flop Shops anticipates collecting 10,000 pairs of shoes in 2009 for donation to Soles4Souls.
"Our partnership with Soles4Souls is another example of Doing The Right Thing," said Kraetsch (size 10). "Doing The Right Thing is the driving force behind our culture and overall philosophy and we are proud to support such a great cause."
To fully integrate Flip Flop Shops consumers with the Soles4Souls mission, the Soles4Souls RV Tour will stop at Flip Flop Shops locations throughout the country, spreading its excitement and goodwill to local towns. Flip Flop Shops currently has locations operating in Arizona and California, and will soon open additional franchised shops in Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Jersey, Delaware, and Ohio; as well as forays into Vancouver, British Columbia and Guam.
Selling such popular brands as Reef, havaianas, Sanuk, Hurley and OluKai, Flip Flop Shops plans to reach 236 shops across North America within the next five years.
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 three locations currently operating and 20 in development, the company plans to franchise 236 shops by 2013.
Nashville-based Soles4Souls™ facilitates the donations of both new and used shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide. Soles4Souls has distributed more than 4 million pairs (currently donating one pair every 17 seconds) to people in over 70 countries, including Honduras, Uganda, Romania, and the United States. The charity has been featured recently in Runner's World and the Green Guide by National Geographic. It has also appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, BOX, CBS, and hundreds of regional outlets around North America. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS; donating parties are eligible for tax advantages.