Chantelle Harder has been breaking ground since the beginning of her career.
In the early 2000s, she, her husband and his colleague who were pharmacists, formed one of the first companies to sell life-saving prescriptions online to U.S.-based customers. They were so successful that in 2005 Chantelle and her then-husband sold their shares to their business partner. In 2007 Chantelle remarried and grew her family to include four kids.
It was 2009 when she first discovered Winmark Corporation®. She’d had four kids and was ready to go back to work, but it had to be for the right company. To her surprise, she’d find that company by happenstance. One day, while driving down from Manitoba to North Dakota, she came across Once Upon A Child® – a Winmark brand – for the first time.
Finding a Franchise With a Mission
As a parent, she was immediately drawn to the Once Upon A Child’s concept. Often kids and baby clothing are so lightly worn, she immediately recognized how desirable a resale franchise like this would be back in her hometown.
Chantelle has always been drawn to work with a purpose. When she and her husband started their online pharmaceutical company, it was the opportunity to provide life-saving prescriptions at an affordable price to people in need. Before that, she’d worked as a teacher for several years.
When she walked through the doors of Once Upon A Child, she immediately saw how this was a resource she and many other parents in her local area would love to have. Furthermore, it hit upon her interest in finding a mission-oriented business.
“What I loved about Once Upon A Child was that these lightly worn items don’t have to go in a landfill,” she said.
Franchising Gives New Business Owners More Support
When Chantelle first discovered Winmark - the Resale company™ she’d been on the search for the perfect franchise. She knew owning an independent business wasn’t for her anymore.
“You have to learn everything on your own, and there’s no support,” she explained. “I’ve always preferred a collaborative approach to own and run a business, and that’s what you get with a franchise.”
Independent businesses may be able to get the support of the local chamber of commerce and community, but it’s not at the same level as franchisor support. Under Winmark’s franchise model, we’re able to provide in-depth training and assistance from the second we award your franchise throughout your life as a business owner with one of our brands.
The Road to Success and Multi-Unit Ownership
Chantelle knew as soon as she opened her Once Upon A Child that she wanted to be a multi-unit owner. Part of that was due to how she was acclimated to franchise ownership with Winmark. When she first began, she’d also been seriously considering a franchise in the food industry but found they were too aggressive for what she was looking for.
“Winmark has a more gradual approach. It was comforting when I was starting that I could take the time I needed to decide if it was the right fit for me,” Chantelle said, describing the contrast she experienced.
At Winmark, our onboarding is designed to ensure our franchisees’ longevity and success; we want them to achieve all their goals at a pace that best suits them. For Chantelle, this allowed her to meet other Winmark franchisees and learn which of our brands she’d want to branch out into. She landed on Plato’s Closet® and opened one location in Winnipeg and eventually two in Calgary, Alberta. Chantelle also owns a second Winmark brand, Once Upon A Child, in Winnipeg.
Winmark Franchisees Find Strength in Numbers
Chantelle doesn’t have immediate plans to open more locations, but she’d be open to it.
“I always have my ear to the floor. I’d never say never.”
In a career shaped by her compassion for other people, Chantelle found her most supportive community in Winmark – the Resale Company™, whether that was Winmark guiding her along on the process of opening each of her franchise spaces or checking in with other franchisees on their personal experiences. Her advice? Chantelle recommends always asking for help when you need it.
“Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.”Looking to open a resale business in your community? Contact us today to find out more about what kind of support we offer our franchisees!