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Gently used is big business

The four billion dollar resale industry is wide open and growing.  That’s no wonder – with budgets tightening everywhere, trendy customers are looking for ways to save on the fashions they love without compromising on brand.  That’s why Uptown Cheapskate is the perfect opportunity for savvy business owners.  Founded in 2009, Uptown Cheapskate’s upscale resale franchise model has grown rapidly to more than 40 locations in 17 states, providing stylish clothing at amazing value to our loyal customers.

Not only do our stores look more like the mall than your typical thrift store, they run using sophisticated technology and big business operational savvy.

TOP 3 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE UPTOWN

 

REASON 1: UNPARALLELED BRANDING

Our marketing is as upscale as our store experience. The in-house marketing team creates original materials that are not just effective, but stylish and uniquely Uptown. With custom designs for each marketing need, it’s like having a free ad agency at your fingertips. As an owner, you’ll experience results-driven marketing to reach your target market, a strong brand loyalty, and a beautifully designed store that exudes style — just like our customers.

Results-driven Marketing

No stock images for us. From social media, web and email marketing to in-store graphics, public relations and car wraps, our marketing materials are uniquely designed to speak to our savvy shoppers. And if marketing just isn’t your thing, you can subscribe to our marketing service where for a small fee, our marketing department will schedule your marketing emails, update your website and social media pages, have your in-store materials shipped to you and send you detailed coupon and email effectiveness reports monthly.

Check out some examples:

Brand Loyalty

We can write all we want about Uptown but it’s what our customers say about us that really matters.  Read testimonials from our customers and find out what it’s like to experience Uptown.

View Testimonials

I am absolutely in love with this store and the clothes in it! The standards for great style are high, which makes shopping at Uptown Cheapskate a very unique and rewarding experience. I really feel like I am creating my own style when I shop here and I can express myself through my style. I have brought multiple friends to the store and have talked about it to almost all the girls I work with because I think this store deserves recognition! I love the variety of brands and the high quality of clothing. Such a wonderful place with wonderful opportunities for style

Kylie Janovick

Beautifully-designed stores

Our stores are pretty, too! From the moment customers walk through our doors, we want them to experience the upbeat, urban style of Uptown Cheapskate.  Our stores are specifically designed to promote a high-fashion yet friendly atmosphere. From our modern fixtures and lighting to our upscale signage and displays we believe in creating an extraordinary brand experience.

REASON 2: PROPRIETARY TECH

Not everyone can evaluate and accurately price thousands of different clothing brands. The good news? We can. Our user-friendly appraisal software and reporting systems help owners make wise and consistent buying and pricing decisions as well as access important sales information in real time.

Inventory Management and Appraisal Program (IMAP)

Consistency in pricing and customer service are critical components of running a successful resale franchise. Our proprietary IMAP system is like the Kelley Blue Book® for like-new clothes, footwear, and accessories.  Using IMAP, our owners are able to obtain gross margins of nearly 68% on the clothing they purchase. With its’ easy-to-use interface and built-in brand and pricing structure, even a novice can function like an expert.

Chelsea_buy

Real-time reports

With our cloud-based reporting system, franchise owners can easily receive sales reports in real time. These reports can be accessed remotely, allowing store owners to effectively manage multiple stores simultaneously.  From our portal, owners can also access training resources and marketing support.

REASON 3: PROVEN SYSTEMS

Our robust management tools and extensive training are effective, comprehensive, and streamlined. We’ve combined the best practices of our top stores into a complete store management package. The result? Easier multi-store management, improved staff training and engagement, and dramatically improved operations.

Management books

Management Tools

We provide a series of management guides to help owners set clear expectations, measure and report goals, and provide employees with opportunities to succeed.

Staff Training

Providing an exceptional customer experience, from our product selection to our buying process, is the biggest priority of our brand.  That’s why we have a full library of training videos, simulations, quizzes, and fashion updates to help all Uptown employees and owners.

Training Portal

OPENING YOUR STORE

Once you’ve decided to own an Uptown store, the start-up process usually takes 5-7 months and we’re with you every step of the way. The primary variables include ease of getting financing, finding a great location, and building out your store.  Below is a timeline and description of each step of the process.

TIMELINE

Timeline graphic v2

Learn more about each step:

SITE SELECTION

We provide assistance in site selection and have leasing experts who will negotiate a favorable lease.

BUSINESS PLANNING

Our Biz Planner tool allows you to create sample budgets based on sales levels, facilities cost, labor expense, and other operating expenses.  Use this to get an idea of what you can expect from your investment.

FINANCING

We have partnerships with major banks and are well-equipped to get you the financing you need. If you are self-financed, the start-up process is at times significantly shortened.

STORE DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION

Our store design specialist will create a customized store and fixture plan to fit the dimensions of your space. She will assist you in ordering approved materials and will work with you and your hired contractor during the construction process.

TRAINING

All new Uptown franchisees complete a 12-day training program, followed by a 5 day internship.  Through this combination of classroom and in-store training we’ll prepare you to meet the challenges of owning and operating an Uptown Cheapskate Franchise.  Ongoing training is available through the Uptown Training Portal, support calls, site visits, regional conferences, and our annual owner’s conference.

FILLING YOUR STORE WITH INVENTORY

Before your Grand Opening, you will stock your store during the “Open to Buy” period. During this time, you will market to new customers and pay them cash for stylish, gently-used clothes and accessories.  You will not be selling any of your inventory during this time.

GRAND OPENING

With a store full of inventory and the necessary preparations in place, you will select your store open date and begin to market your Grand Opening. Your support rep will visit your store and assist you during your Grand Opening event.

INVESTMENT

As a general rule, you will need at least $60,000 in cash or liquid assets, in addition to collateral to apply against the remainder of the loan.  Although Uptown Cheapskate does not provide in-house financing, we will refer you to one of our preferred lenders.

Because every project varies by size and location, we’ve provided a range of what you can expect to spend.

EXPENSE Low High
FRANCHISE FEE $25,000 $25,000
TRAINING EXPENSES $4,000 $7,000
REAL ESTATE DEPOSITS & IMPROVEMENTS $5,000 $80,000
FIXTURES $50,000 $75,000
SIGNS $12,000 $18,000
COMPUTER EQUIPMENT $16,000 $16,000
SECURITY SYSTEM $5,000 $8,000
GRAND OPENING $10,000 $20,000
OPENING INVENTORY $40,000 $60,000
INCORPORATION DOCUMENTS $500 $1,000
LOAN FEES $3,500 $8,500
LICENSING $500 $1,000
SUPPLIES, MISC. $5,000 $8,000
WORKING CAPITAL (3 MONTHS) $3500 $55,000
TOTAL INVESTMENT $212,000 $384,500

CONTINUOUS SUPPORT AFTER YOU OPEN

From the moment you officially open your doors, you have a full support team of 37 members strong by your side. With more than 200 years of industry experience combined, we stand behind the mantra that YOUR success is OUR success.

Our tech team will order, configure, and walk you through complete store network installation. After you’re open, you’ll enjoy unlimited free computer support for the first six months.   After that time, you’ll have access to free quick fixes from our tech team, our system helpdesk, and can call on our tech team at any time.  Our goal?  Trouble-free computer operations that give you time to focus on building your business.

As a business owner, you will become expert in operations, management, financial projecting, staffing issues, product, and seasonal changes for retail.  But you don’t need to start that way. At Uptown, you’ll enjoy the best Support-to-Franchisee ratio in the industry, ensuring that you’ll get plenty of tailored attention.  Your Support Rep is just a phone call away, and will work with you to implement franchise systems and solve your store’s specific challenges.  Your Rep will provide reports analysis, marketing suggestions, and advice on how to grow sales and profits.

Materials: Our customers are savvy, fashionable, and love beautiful things.  So does our marketing team! At Uptown, we focus on connecting in a meaningful way by appealing to the green aspect of our business as well as the reality that customers can find stylish clothing in a resale store.  We’d don’t do stock photos, clip art, or anything that looks like it was made in Microsoft Word.  As a franchisee, you’ll enjoy free access to our creative team for all your marketing needs.  Whether it’s a car wrap, billboards, or customized marketing piece, we take pride in our materials.

Placement: Uptown has a wide variety of proven marketing methods that have been vetted in multiple markets across the country.  Our team helps franchisees with creating marketing budgets, placing media buys, evaluating results, and has even developed marketing campaigns down to the grassroots level.  In markets with multiple stores, we organize co-ops to pool resources and increase ROI.

Analysis: The Uptown Reports Package is a vital component of managing marketing spending.  Our team doesn’t want our franchisees to spend money on marketing – we want our franchisees to invest money in marketing activities that will bring in new and repeat business. As a franchisee, you’ll know how often your customers shop, how much they spend, where they come from, and how they interact with the store.  You’ll be able to target marketing materials to shoppers who haven’t been in the store for a while.  You can evaluate the effectiveness of your coupons and promotions on customer longevity.  Essentially, you’ll have enterprise-level reporting at your fingertips, and free marketing experts who will help you decide what to do with it.

If you don’t feel comfortable with marketing, you can sign up for our monthly marketing service. For $200 a month, you’ll receive full support for your social and email marketing, website optimization and maintenance, in-store materials and monthly reports.

Uptown believes in financial transparency in order to improve profitability.  Our financial team will evaluate your submitted books on a quarterly basis to identify areas for optimizing numbers, check to make sure the books are accurate, and to help you achieve your profitability goals.  If you don’t love bookkeeping, for a nominal $160 monthly fee, our expert in-house bookkeeper will even manage your books for you.

HEAR WHAT OWNERS HAVE TO SAY

Since we opened our first franchise in 2009, our owners have helped us grow to over 35 locations. Hear what our amazing owners have to say about owning an Uptown!

WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR

  • Individuals who meet the cash requirement of $60,00 – $75,000
  • Leaders who can train and mentor team to be amazing at what they do
  • The ability to take specific instruction and follow the proven system, not reinvent it
  • Passion and desire for fashion and the brand
  • People that are organized and self-motivated to put in the work it takes to build the business

Common Questions

How much money do I need to open a franchise?

Individuals will need $60,000 – $75,000 in non-borrowed personal resources (liquid assets, e.g. cash, marketable securities, stocks, etc…) along with an overall net worth (total assets minus total liabilities) of $250,000-$275,000 to qualify.  We have relationships with several third-party lenders to help you secure financing.  The total cost of each unit varies by size and location.

How much money can I make?

In 2012, our average owner enjoyed earnings of $107,983, with our top owner making more than $300,000.  However, your experience may be different and there is no guarantee of success.  We are restricted by the Federal Trade Commission and various state franchise sales regulations from providing you with specific profit projections. To learn more about actual experiences, we will encourage you to speak with existing franchisees during our application process

Can I run this business part time?

If you’re looking for a business that just runs itself, this isn’t the right fit for you.  For the first 6 months of operation, you (or a vested partner) must work full-time in the store. After that time you can turn the day-to-day operations of the store over to a manager, but our most successful owners stay actively involved even with a management team in place.

Can I run multiple stores?

Absolutely – we encourage it!  The majority of Uptown franchisees own either multiple Uptown Cheapskate or Kid to Kid stores (our sister brand).  We’ve tailored our support model and tools to help franchisees manage multiple units. What fees will I have to pay? Our franchise royalty fee is 4% to 5% depending on the number of stores you own.  In addition, you will pay ½ of 1% of gross sales to the Marketing Fund, which is earmarked to develop marketing materials for the system. Additionally, we maintain savings accounts for computer upgrades, travel, and fixtures that you will pay $100/month into.  Those monies can be pulled to offset expenses as they occur.  For example, when you attend the Annual Meeting, you can pull money from your travel fund instead of incurring an out-of-pocket expense.

I need lots of training—what will that look like?

In addition to attending 12 days of training in Salt Lake City, you will complete a rigorous “pre-training” program and internship to become proficient in the Uptown Cheapskate systems. Your initial training will include business and marketing planning; inventory procurement and management; operations, merchandising and personnel; customer service and vendor relations; bookkeeping and financial management.

TAKE THE FIRST STEP IN OWNING AN UPTOWN


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