JT Sims was looking forward to opening his first Once Upon a Child® franchise location, when he was suddenly thrown a curve ball by COVID-19.
Based in Anderson, South Carolina, JT had initially been planning to hold his grand opening on March 23, but with lockdowns and safety restrictions in place, it looked as though he was going to have to put his dream on pause.
However, in true small business owner fashion, he decided to do everything he possibly could to make sure his location could provide the gently used children’s apparel, accessories, toys and equipment the community members needed, along with keeping his newly hired employees on to help.
Moving Forward Despite Lack of PPP Assistance
In order to qualify for any financial assistance from the federal government, JT’s store had to have sold some merchandise by the middle of February. But that wasn’t going to stop JT.
JT and his team began offering curbside pickups and sales, and went the extra mile to collect items and make deliveries in his personal vehicle. He also refused to limit his hours and actually ended up extending them because he was determined to start off strong with his new business.
Although JT was scared of what could potentially happen to his new business venture, he kept a strong face up for his employees. And it worked. They did everything they could in their power to keep their store up and running without help from the government, and proved to themselves and the rest of the community how much they want to stick around.
Getting Started – in Spite of Social Distancing
Even with social distancing and shelter-in-place travel restrictions, the Winmark team was able to virtually support JT to prepare for his grand opening.
JT officially opened his doors on May 28 – celebrating the hard work and dedication his team had displayed during the long community shut down, buying curbside, acquiring inventory from his community, and getting his store ready for grand opening.
In addition, Winmark partnered with another local franchisee to provide on-site support on his actual grand opening day. It was truly a team effort that shows the strength of being part of a franchisee peer network. All their hard work resulted in the 3rd best grand opening weekend for a Once Upon A Child owner.
Winmark is always looking for franchisees who are innovative and determined to succeed, even when faced with challenges as significant as a global pandemic.
Are you looking to join a franchise family filled with support from like-minded entrepreneurs? Learn more about the franchise opportunities with any of the five resale retail franchise brands within Winmark’s portfolio by downloading our free franchise reports here!