(Ambrosio’s note: Welcome to this week’s edition of Fro-Yo Files, an exclusive bonus series for Platinum subscribers of Franchise Chatter. Today’s post is the second of three parts. Stay tuned for Part 3 to be posted tomorrow.)
The Grand Opening
Amazingly, when Sizemore and his long-time friends — now colleagues — opened their first Orange Leaf location, they had no employees. The three of them had to roll up their sleeves and go to work. They only survived with the help of family and friends who would help cover shifts and lighten the workload. “When you first start out, you must be willing to do every job in the store. Lucky for us, the business took off relatively quickly and we had to start hiring almost right away,” Sizemore said, adding that they now employ about 150 people across their nine Kentucky locations.
“The last two years have been such an exciting time for us,” says Sizemore. “Most of all, we are really thankful people were willing to give us a shot and try something new. The people of Lexington were so kind. They would come and check us out and then they’d tell their friends about it. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have been a success because of community support. Locals pushed the business for us and gave us a whole new appreciation for the term word-of-mouth marketing.”
Taking Advantage of an Untapped Market
Soon after the opening of that first Orange Leaf location, Sizemore, Anderson, and Morris began expanding their footprint and looking to open more locations. Within the first two years of opening their doors, they launched eight additional Orange Leaf fro-yo franchise shops. Eight of the stores are situated in high traffic retail strip centers and one is a stand alone shop.
According to Sizemore, anyone looking to start a fro-yo franchise, or any franchise for that matter, should look for high traffic areas that have complementary retail chains. Ideally, he says, fro-yo franchisees should try and stay away from other direct competitors, but acknowledges this is often impossible.