The first time Dave Galajda walked into a SportClips shop, he thought, “Wow, what a great little retreat in a man’s day.
“I saw a guy-friendly environment that I’d be happy to go to,” says the owner of Sarnia’s new SportClips franchise.
Galajda, who lives in Lambeth, was in the truck industry for 32 years before the long hours convinced him to make a change.
For him, the logical move was to make a business investment with a proven franchise. Before researching the market, he said he would never have guessed he’d wind up in the men’s haircutting trade.
“I don’t cut hair. But I don’t need to,” he said. “I bring business experience and have an understanding of people and employees.”
He researched the top Fortune 500 companies and saw SportClips was among the most successful. It started in 1993 in Texas and has 1,600 U.S locations. SportClips came to Canada three years ago and the Sarnia shop is number 32.
Galajda bought the franchise licences for Sarnia, Chatham, St. Thomas, Stratford, Woodstock and Brantford, then toured each city to decide where he’d open his first SportClips.
Sarnia stood out for several reasons.
“I grew up on a farm near Strathroy and I’ve always liked the rural feel of Sarnia,” said Galajda.
New plaza space on the northeast corner of Exmouth and Lambton Mall Road was available in the centre of a shopping district heavily frequented by men heading to Home Depot, Lowe’s and Princess Auto.
The clincher was that Sarnians, on average, statistically earn the same as those in other cities, yet generally have a lower cost of living.
More disposable income means more money for luxuries like haircuts, said Galajda.
Opening day was Nov. 19 and the first weeks of business have been brisk, he said.
Customers enter the shop and are seated in “stadium style” chairs in front of an 80-inch big screen TV to wait for their cut.
Sixteen-foot ceilings accommodate baseball stadium wall murals surrounding eight stations equipped with more TVs permanently tuned to sports channels.
The theme is carried into the “Showers room” where shampoos are offered in massaging chairs and European-style sinks. Hot steam towels treated with tea tree oil are available as well as electric back and shoulder massagers.
Standard or varsity cuts for boys are $15. Men pay $21. The MVP haircut costs $27 and includes a cut, a hot steamed towel wrap, a shampoo and the back and shoulder massage.
“Men are looking for something like this because barbershops are disappearing and their only option tends to be unisex salons,” said Galajda.
“Our stylists are trained specifically on men’s and boys’ haircuts. The franchise provides trainers and coaches for every staff member.”
Once the Sarnia shop is established, he has plans to open a second SportClips store, likely in Brantford next year.
SportClips Haircuts is located at 1107 Lambton Mall Rd. It’s open M-F 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sat. 9:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. and Sun. 12 – 5 p.m. Call 519-491-0790. No appointments. Walk-ins only.
Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.