There are few things that will change your life like having children. Unless, of course, you have a child and open a new business at the same time.
Michelle and Ryan Fischer moved to Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada in 2017. Shortly thereafter, they found out Michelle was pregnant with their first child.
Like a lot of young families, the Fischers didn’t know – but quickly realized – how much stuff children need, how rapidly they grow out of their clothes, shoes and toys and how expensive it can get for first-time parents.
To exacerbate the situation, Michelle discovered the closest thrift store was forty-five minutes away. The Fischers were just one example of many families in the area facing similar circumstances, where there was a need for more affordable children’s clothing and accessories. That’s when Michelle started looking into Winmark’s Once Upon A Child®.
Not the First Time around the Track for these Kid’s Resale Franchise Owners
Ryan Fischer was a professional stock car racer, and once he left that world behind, he wanted to flex his entrepreneurial muscles. So, he and Michelle built an indoor go-kart track business from the ground up and began expanding into multiple locations.
After five years of working side-by-side with her husband, Michelle sought a business that she could call her own.
“I felt there was a great need in the area for the Once Upon A Child model,” Michelle explained.
When the pair went to Discovery Day at Winmark headquarters, they left excited about the opportunity, after having the chance to speak with existing franchisees.
“It was fun meeting other franchisees, and there’s so much value in talking to them and learning from them,” Michelle noted.
When many new moms would be on their maternity leave, Michelle dove head-first into opening her own children’s resale franchise. Having a small business background running the go-kart tracks definitely helped. She was familiar with the site selection and the buildout process, as well as what it takes to grow a business.
Yet, Michelle also recognized the advantages of owning a franchise, especially within a completely new industry.
“Having the support of the franchisor and people who have done this tens of thousands of times before was really exciting,” Michelle said. “I don’t think I could have tackled this business without the help.”
Finding a Community Supportive of the Resale Franchise Concept
Chilliwack is a growing community with other young families like the Fischers moving in. There’s a diversity of income levels, which helps supply their Once Upon A Child store with a strong mix of great clothing and accessories while ensuring strong demand for the products.
“We are lucky to have great inventory and be able to offer it at such a great price,” Michelle said. “Lots of young families really appreciate it.”
The Fischers also mentioned how they’ve been fortunate that their community has been receptive to the buy-and-sell business model that Once Upon A Child offers.
“Kids get so much stuff, and you wonder, ‘What do you do with it later?’” Michelle said.
As someone who also cares about doing right by the planet as well as her community, she's grateful to be able to support the reuse and recycling of clothing and other kid’s items through her business. Knowing she is doing her small part to keep these items out of landfills is further justification for bringing Once Upon A Child to her hometown.
Getting the Balance Right as Spouses and Business Owners
When you’re in business with your spouse, it’s important to find a good work/life balance. You need to make time and spend time together without talking about work.
The Fischers have managed to find a good balance, with Michelle putting most of her effort into day-to-day management and Ryan working on their go-kart businesses and dedicating more time at home to help care for their daughter.
As Michelle focuses on growing her first store, she’s open to expanding into multiple units.
“When we announced we were bringing Once Upon A Child to Chilliwack, we heard people asking if there’d be a Plato’s Closet® coming soon as well,” she said.
Ultimately, the pair works hard at staying positive and enjoying raising their one-year-old while being dual-business owners.
Are you interested in bringing a much-need kid’s resale franchise concept to your community? Learn more by downloading the Once Upon A Child franchise report.