Fantastic Sams Hair Salons is eyeing the South Sound and sent its president and CEO, Scott Colabuono, to scout out potential salon sites.

“When the rain stops and the sun comes out it’s one of the more beautiful places in the country,” said Colabuono, who has been in the area since Thursday and leaves tomorrow. “Most of this is to visit locations and see where we should be targeting the opening … We’d love to get a great operator here for Pierce and King counties.”

Fantastic Sams wants one franchisee for seven locations in Pierce and King counties. Once the deal is finalized, Colabuono said it should take about six months until the first Fantastic Sams would appear and then another would open every 12 to 18 months. To entice an operator the company has cut its licensing fee in half to $50,000 for the seven locations.
The seven locations will employ about 100 stylists and staff members. However, the new franchisee is not required to have any background in the salon industry because Fantastic Sams has trainers lined up to teach the technical side of the business.

“That’s why it makes it doable to have the multiple locations because you have the assistance,” said Heidi Ivie, regional educator. “(Owners) don’t have to be technical. They just have to be business oriented, people oriented and really good (at developing) their own people.”

Ivie said that the South Sound is “an area that has been overlooked for a very long time” and that she “can’t believe it hasn’t been developed before now.”

While the company continues to look for the “right” franchisee for the territory, it also is tracking the availability of desirable commercial locations. Colabuono said in this environment there are plenty of commercial real estate bargains to go around, but added that it’s more important to get a “good” site – typically near a grocery store or big box retailer.

“The hair salon service business is recession resistant. Our salons have continued to grow revenue (and) we have continued to sell licenses around the country,” he said, adding that even the slight slowdown they felt has faded. “We know we are out of the woods and we are going to be moving aggressively forward.”