Flip Flop Shops Catches a Wave to the Caribbean

World-Wide Movement to 'Free Your Toes' Coming Ashore in St. Maarten

March 30, 2010 // Franchising.com // ATLANTA – The world-wide movement to "Free Your Toes" has reached yet another milestone. Flip Flop Shops, North America's leading flip flop and sandal retailer, announces the signing of a franchise agreement that will bring the growing brand to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten.

"Now, more than ever, it is a great time to become a Flip Flop Shops franchisee. We are doing the right things, with the right people in the right markets," said Brian Curin, the President (Size 10) of Flip Flop Shops. "We are totally stoked to bring our unique lifestyle brand and 'Free Your Toes' state-of-mind to the Caribbean where flip flops are part of the culture and the unofficial footwear of the islands."

Once reserved only for poolside or beachwear, 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. Flip Flop Shops' mission is to provide the opportunity for anyone, in any climate, to "live…work …play with their toes exposed®" while wearing the freedom of flip flops on their feet. The shops carry the hottest brands of flip flops and sandals – such as REEF, Sanuk, VANS, havaianas, Flojos and O'Neill, among others – and sell on average for $45 to $56. Higher-priced flip flops by Olukai are made of premium leather.

"A shop in the Caribbean is long overdue," added Darin Kraetsch, the CEO (Size 10) of Flip Flop Shops. "Can you honestly think of a better place for flip flops? By day, people are enjoying the sun, the laid-back lifestyle and the beaches, and by night, soaking up the island atmosphere."

The smell and sound of each shop captures the Flip Flop Shops laid-back, yet adventurous character. If the 500-900 square foot shops aren't near the beach, they bring the beach to consumers with coconut suntan oil scents wafting through the air, active lifestyle inspired music tickling consumer senses and the top action sport films playing on flat screens.

"Flip Flop Shops is the perfect fit for me and for our magnificent island of St. Maarten," said Vanessa Essed (Size 8), who will be opening the Caribbean shop this year. "I am super amped to be pioneering the St. Maarten market and being the first to 'Free My Toes' in the Caribbean."

At a time when 1/3 of all small business startups fail during the first two years and less than half make it to four years*, Flip Flop Shops, North America's first retail chain exclusive to the hottest brands and latest styles of flip flops and sandals, has defied the odds and grown its franchise system at a record pace. Since 2008, the growing brand has received nearly 5,000 franchise applications, generated more than $1 million in franchise fees and opened 12 shops throughout the United States, Guam and Canada.

With 14 shops currently operating and 40 more in development, the company plans to open 236 shops by 2013.

About Flip Flop Shops

Founded in 2004, Flip Flop Shops is North America's first retail chain exclusive to the hottest brands and latest styles of flip flops and sandals from big names such as REEF, Sanuk, Flojos, VANS, Havaianas and O'NEILL. 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 14 shops currently operating and 40 more in development, the company plans to open 236 shops by 2013.

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