From Store Manager to Business Owner: How This Plato’s Closet Franchisee Followed Her Passion
Throughout her entire professional life and a cross-country move, one thing has remained constant in Jill Martin’s life: Plato’s Closet®.
From Iowa to Hawaii and back again, Jill has always felt at home working at the local Plato’s Closet franchise. Now with the help of her family, she has continued her six-year tenure with the brand with the opening of her Plato’s Closet franchise in St. Joseph, Missouri.
A Career Fueled by Passion for the Brand and Business Concept
Jill first began working at Plato’s Closet in 2012 when she was 24 years old. She started out as a part-time associate at the local clothing resale franchise in her hometown of Sioux City, Iowa, but soon worked her way up to become the store manager.
“The day-to-day involved everything from managing and hiring employees to opening and closing the store, checking inventory and engaging with customers, and I loved every minute of it,” Jill said. “I always really liked the resale concept and brand, and working there quickly became my passion.”
Jill continued to manage the Sioux City store until her former husband, a member of the Marines Corps, was stationed in Oahu, Hawaii.
“When we relocated to Oahu, one of the first things I did was Google-search ‘Plato’s Closet’ to find out if there was a store nearby,” Jill said. “Sure enough, there was a Plato’s Closet in our area, and I immediately reached out to the store manager to see if there were any job openings.”
After looking into her past experience and checking references, the store manager offered Jill a position as key holder. Jill worked at the Hawaii location for another year before coming back to the mainland U.S. to be closer to her family, who all lived in Missouri.
Realizing Her Dream and Running a Clothing Resale Franchise
Ultimately, Jill decided to move to Kansas City where her brother Thomas worked in real estate investment and finance.
“I was looking for a new job in the area when Thomas suggested I open my own Plato’s Closet franchise,” she said. “That had always been my dream, so when he and my parents were willing to help with the investment and become part-owners, I was elated.”
Because the Kansas City market was already saturated, however, Jill decided to sell her new house and move to nearby St. Joseph to open her Plato’s Closet franchise.
“The two cities are only about 45 minutes away, so it’s not too difficult for Thomas and my parents [Ann and Chip] to come by the store when they want to help out,” Jill said. “We are a hardworking, close-knit family, and we each have experience in different areas, which I think makes us successful.”
Chip is a corporate pilot, and Ann works as an executive assistant, but they both visit the store to help out on busy days. In addition to Thomas’ financial expertise and Jill’s brand-specific management experience, the family-owned business is backed by a solid foundation of diverse skillsets.
“With the strong corporate support, I wouldn’t say you need experience with the brand or even in retail, in order to run a successful Plato’s Closet franchise,” Jill said. “But working there first really gave me the confidence that I could do this on my own since the day-to-day operations weren’t new to me.”
“Jill managed the store that was No. 5 in the nation for highest gross revenue. There’s almost 500 Plato’s Closets total, so it’s a pretty big honor,” Thomas said. “She’s pretty quiet about that, but she really knows her stuff.”
Although Jill just opened her doors last July, she says she and her family have been overwhelmed by the amount of community support they’ve seen so far.
“Before we even opened, the local news station came out and asked to do a segment about the store, and we continue to receive a lot of positive feedback from customers and people just driving by,” Jill said. “We’ve been blown away by the support from the community, and it’s a huge blessing to have such a great community and family that have helped me realize my dream to open my own store.”
Interested in bringing a Plato’s Closet to your community? Learn more about our franchise opportunities here.