Mark MacLellan and his family were first introduced to our resale retail franchise while vacationing in Sarasota, FL, about 12 years ago. Mark's daughters, who were 8 and 12, wanted to go shopping at Plato's Closet®.
"We saw the interest from our daughters right away," Mark said.
While they became longtime fans of the brand, Mark and his wife, Stacey, didn't explore franchise opportunities until a few years after that vacation.
At the time, Stacey owned an HR consulting firm where she primarily worked with the Canadian federal government, and Mark had just begun his role with a safety consulting company.
Eager for a change and looking to diversify their investments, the pair began looking for a business to open.
"Stacey had been working 40 hours behind a desk, and that wasn't what we were interested in," Mark said.
While on the hunt for new business ventures, Mark was eager to leverage his corporate experience and Stacey's former retail experience.
"Because our daughters were so interested in Plato's Closet and had grown up recycling their used items, we thought it was worthwhile to invest in a resale franchise," Mark said.
At the time, there weren't any Plato's Closet franchises outside of Toronto, and Mark knew the value our resale retail franchise could bring to his community. With that in mind, Mark set out for discovery day to begin the franchise process.
"We really enjoyed discovery day and developed great relationships with everyone we met," Mark said. "We liked the brand, and we all clicked instantly."
Catering to the Community
With the help from our corporate team, Mark opened his Ottawa location in 2015. While finding the right location was challenging at first, the Winmark® team assisted Mark with site selection and navigating the real estate process for streamlined development. Once he opened his doors, business was smooth sailing.
Mark's Plato's Closet location quickly became a staple within his community by offering high-quality gently used clothes that are stylish and affordable.
"We frequently hear ‘thank you’ from moms who are grateful to provide their kids with the trendy clothes they want that they might not necessarily otherwise be able to afford," Mark said. “The teens really love shopping here too.”
Last year, both the demand for an affordable retail option and interest in sustainable fashion rose due to the pandemic, and Mark's store has continued to thrive and beat the odds.
Leading With Purpose
With an extensive and diverse background working at Apple®, an animation software company and most recently a safety company where he worked seven years focusing on human performance, it's safe to say Mark is a natural leader.
While he's spent a great deal of time training and supporting his staff members and colleagues in former roles, it wasn't until he became a Plato's Closet franchisee where he had the chance to impart his experience and wisdom on a younger generation.
Aside from filling a need within his community, Mark notes seeing the growth of his employees as the most rewarding part of being a Plato's Closet franchisee.
"I love watching the young people grow and build interpersonal and decision-making skills," he added.
For many of Mark's employees, Plato's Closet is their first job, and Mark is proud to teach them the necessary skills they can take with them in their future careers.
"Because of the type of work they do – sort through people's clothes, select what to buy and what not to buy, then communicate that with the customer – they're developing communication skills and self-confidence that can transfer into any job," added Mark.
Investing in Yourself to Invest in Others
With Winmark, Mark has achieved his goal of owning a business while also making a difference within his community.
"I realized that all of the effort I was putting into working for someone else I could be putting into my own business. Now I know that effort has served me well," Mark said.
"If you're in the corporate world and you're thinking about franchising, now is the time. Make a plan and execute it because if you can be successful in your corporate life, you can be successful working for yourself," he added.
The MacLellans are a prime example of it as they are getting ready to open their third store in the next couple of weeks.
Looking for a retail franchise opportunity that allows you to leverage your corporate experience and fill a need within your market?
Click here to learn more about Winmark's franchise opportunities.