A lot can change in five years, and while Winmark Corporation franchises have grown and evolved substantially since 2014, one thing has stayed the same: our brands’ recognition in Entrepreneur magazine’s coveted 2019 Franchise 500 list.
For the fifth year in a row, Entrepreneur named Winmark’s Once Upon A Child® the top children’s retail franchise and Plato’s Closet® the top apparel and accessories franchise in the nation. Our newest apparel brand, Style Encore®, also made the list, along with Play It Again Sports®.
While we focus our attention more on our growth strategy than racking up accolades, this recognition validates Winmark brands as a consistently strong investment.
What it Means to Rank in the Top 500 for 5 Years
Established in 1980, the Franchise 500 list is one of the most comprehensive and prestigious rankings in the franchise industry. Recognition as a Top 500 brand is awarded to the best franchise opportunities across verticals, selected out of the industry’s more than 3,000 franchise brands.
In order to evaluate the strength of franchise opportunities, Entrepreneur experts weigh each franchise’s key factors and performance metrics, including:
- Costs and Fees
- Size and Growth
- Brand Strength
- Financial Strength and Stability
Under the Winmark umbrella, our top-rated brands and dedicated franchisees have solidified our place as the industry leader in the $17 billion resale sector for nearly three decades.
Saving Some Green by Going Green
Alongside our brands’ impressive growth and unrivaled unit-level economics that factored into our Franchise 500 ranking, some of our most important feats in the last year are rooted in the strength and sustainability of our concept.
While Winmark resale franchises spur regular demand and experience high levels of profitability, they’re also businesses that our franchisees feel good about owning.
Once Upon A Child, Plato’s Closet, Style Encore, Music Go Round® and Play It Again Sports® provide communities with merchandise at an affordable price point, while also reducing waste and keeping those quality used items out of landfills.
The average family spends a little more than $1,800 on clothing each year. But, because our franchise brands offer clothes at discounts of 50 to 90 percent off, families can save anywhere from $900 to $1,620 on apparel expenses.
And while fast fashion has wrought havoc on the environment, Plato’s Closet, Style Encore and Once Upon A Child have breathed new life into gently used clothes.
The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, second only to oil. From factory and shipping emissions to industrial waste, chemical run-off and water pollution, substantial environmental problems stem from the processes that fuel clothing overproduction.
The Costs of Environmentally Taxing Production Processes
While the processes used to make clothing negatively impact the environment, the waste associated with overconsumption can be just as detrimental. Textile waste now accounts for more than 15 million tons of garbage – a figure that has doubled over the last 20 years – and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Every year, clothing manufacturers around the world produce 80 billion garments, and the average American consumer throws away roughly 81 pounds of clothing annually.
Chipping away at that number, Plato’s Closet and Style Encore franchises across our system purchased nearly 58 million clothing garments in 2018. In other words, among those two brands alone, our franchisees helped keep millions of pounds of clothing out of landfills, promoting sustainability and extending each garment’s lifespan.
Because it takes more than 700 gallons of water to grow enough cotton for just one T-shirt, the amount of clothing resold by our franchisees also helped conserve a substantial amount of water. Reselling all but 1.8 million units of clothing from the 58 million purchased in 2018, Plato’s Closet and Style Encore franchisees were able to save nearly 40 billion gallons of water that would have been used in production if consumers had opted to buy brand-new clothes.
Winmark Hits the Mark in 2018 and Beyond
Across all five brands, our franchisees kept 151 million pieces of clothing, toys, books, accessories, musical instruments and sporting goods out of landfills and in the hands of budget and environmentally conscious consumers.
2018 was a landmark year for Winmark, with system-wide successes in brand growth and environmental sustainability, as well as continued recognition as a top brand in the Franchise 500.
For entrepreneurs looking to break into the booming retail industry without the environmental costs of traditional concepts, Winmark brands provide the perfect opportunity.
Learn more about an industry-leading franchise opportunity built on sustainability by downloading any of our franchise reports for free.