How does a barbershop franchise without losing the individuality which made their business a fixture to begin with? It’s a tricky balancing act, but CHOP seems to have it figured out.
In less than five years, the primarily Tallahassee-based grooming chain has opened several locations. Their credo is in the name – CHOP, which stands for Cool, Hair, Original, People. Simple but effective, their retro-yet-modern take on a barbershop immediately endeared them to customers – the free beer on tap didn’t hurt, either. But there’s also discipline. One of the shop’s owners, Sarah Bolinder, served in the military and worked as a lawyer for ten years. Her focus is credited by co-owner and husband Steve as a driving force in starting CHOP.
Beyond giving a great cut, CHOP creates an experience, fostering a community equal parts warm and authentic. Talking with management, it becomes clear that their expansion (six shops and counting!) is not just for expansion’s sake, but about growing this community.
Their success story is one with heart.
ULTRA talked shop with one CHOP’s owners, Sarah Bolinder.
How long have your shop’s doors been open?
Name a business obstacle and how you overcame it.
What’s the most popular cut with men who come into your shop?
How has SQUIRE helped you grow your business?
Why do you think customers keep coming back to CHOP?
You’ve successfully franchised – something that’s on many other shops’ minds – can you talk a bit about the process?
“Quality of service was a no-brainer, but finding a way to keep them coming back…”
Did the team ever have any BTS conversions about how to retain individuality while expanding?
We definitely talked about how we each find our uniqueness within this whole process and growth. Every single one of us has a role, some a few [laughs].
It seems as though men are taking an increased interest in their appearance – have you seen examples of this at CHOP?