One franchise that is in the business of turning the old into the new again wants to help entrepreneurial veterans start a new chapter of their lives.
NTY, standing for ‘New To You’ is a company that owns the franchising rights to five brands in the resale retail industry: Clothes Mentor, Children’s Orchard, Device Pit Stop, New Uses and NTY Clothing Exchange.
“Our main goal is to sell franchises and then support the franchisees that we sell them to,” NTY’s chief operating officer Chad Olson said during a recent interview from the company’s headquarters in Minneapolis.
Clothes Mentor, which buys and sells used women’s fashion and accessories, started franchising in 2007. Currently, it has 140 stores open and 43 stores sold and awaiting opening.
Acquired by NTY in early 2014, Children’s Orchard buys and sells gently used kids items. It currently has 27 stores open with two sold and awaiting opening.
Device Pit Stop, meanwhile, has 11 stores open with another 10 sold and awaiting opening. NTY acquired the brand’s franchise rights in the fall of 2013. It buys and sells used electronics.
Buying and selling used home goods like furniture, artwork and small appliances is the business model for New Uses. The brand has 11 stores open with one sold and awaiting opening and it’s been around since 2011.
And with two stores open and four sold and awaiting opening, NTY Clothing Exchange, which buys and sells clothes in the teen and young adult market, started franchising in Mid-2014.
The Need for Used to New
In a world that is increasingly looking for environmentally friendly ways to deal with everything, all of NTY’s brands offer that coveted green alternative for people’s old clothing and other items, Olson said, giving people the option of getting cash for the stuff they’re no longer using rather than just throwing it away.
And with consumers often being highly cost conscious, NTY also gives them a way to save money, with products selling for, on average, 70 percent less than they would be sold as new.
All of the NTY brands make sure the items people bring them have resale value. It has to be in good condition and, in the case of apparel, it also has to be in style. Each brand will evaluate a product and they all have a pricing matrix they use to make sure they’re selling items at a price that gives value to the customer and also the business.
In the Beginning
Clothes Mentor was founded in Columbus, OH. with a store in that city and another one in Canton, OH. Olson and his father, Ron Olson, decided to go into business together, both having Resale/Retail franchising experience with another company.
When they began looking at what opportunities were out there for their own business, they found out about Clothes Mentor and noted the two stores were doing quite well. From there, the father and son negotiated the franchising rights to that brand and have been adding to the NTY family since.
While their franchisees come from all walks of life — from teachers to former professional bull riders — they all have one thing in common and that’s the one thing NTY wants in a franchisee.
“We want people who have that entrepreneurial spirit,” Olson said.
They must have motivation and they must also have accumulated some wealth in the past that they’re able to invest.
While the company has just a handful of veteran franchisees at the moment, Olson is looking to change that, as he knows veterans have a stellar reputation as franchisees.
Veterans’ dedication and commitment to carrying out the processes they’ve been taught is what makes them good franchisees, he noted.
“That’s what franchising is all about, taking the business model and the processes that we have proven to be profitable and teaching it to others,” Olson said. “People who have had that military experience following processes fit really well into a franchise system because they will take those processes that we have developed to run and execute a successful business model and follow those processes to a tee.”
NTY has just submitted its application to join veteran franchising organization VetFran. Currently, veterans receive a $2,500 discount off any NTY franchising fee.
As an added incentive — and this goes for any franchisee — three of NTY’s brands also offer a $40,000 jump start program.
Any franchisee that opens an NTY Clothing Exchange, a Children’s Orchard or a New Uses will receive a $20,000 marketing contribution from NTY when their store opens. In addition to that, every six months after their grand opening, they will receive an additional $5,000 marketing contribution from the parent company over a two-year period, totaling a $40,000 contribution toward marketing from NTY.
Training and Support
NTY helps franchisees find the right real estate, helps them procure financing, and brings them to Minneapolis for three weeks of comprehensive training in every aspect of running their business.
The company also offers support on site when franchisees are building out their store and getting it ready to open to ensure it’s being built out properly, they’re acquiring inventory properly and their employees are being trained properly. Then they’ll let the franchisee start running their store and come back out to help franchisees with their grand opening. NTY representatives will visit again 90 days after grand opening, a minimum of three times in that first year to check on inventory, customer service and if franchisees need any additional training.
Each brand has its own regional operations managers, which are assigned to franchisees. Each regional manager has about 20 or 30 franchisees in their region and their main goal is to be a small business consultant. They have monthly consultation calls with franchisees and answer any questions they have and visit franchisees at least once per year.
Expansion and Experience
All of NTY’s brands are open to expanding anywhere in the United States. The collective experience of everyone who is involved with NTY is a huge incentive for any frachisee to choose one of the company’s brands for opening a business, Olson said. Each brand has a vice president in charge of it, he explained, and all of those vice presidents have over 20 years of experience in the retail resale sector. His father, who is president of the
company, has 30-plus years of experience in the sector and when you add in Olson’s 22 years of experience, that’s a lot of knowledge for new franchisees to draw from.
For veterans who are looking to make a new start in life, NTY gives them an opportunity to make that new start a success.