Once Upon A Child was an iconic brand back in the nineties. Started in 1984 in Ohio and franchised since 1993 by Winmark®, the brand had grown to over 200 stores by 2001, but the growth had become stagnant amidst declining store sales and an uninspired management team. The franchisees were more than willing and able to change, but they lacked the leadership necessary to help them come out of their system-wide malaise to once again dominate the category.
Winmark’s new management team identified several operational issues that were holding the brand back and began working with their stronger franchisees to implement effective change management. While the franchisees begged for a silver bullet, the answer was actually to improve several areas of operational deficiencies to overcome the lackluster performance. And with each small change embraced by the system, the performance and the level of franchisee satisfaction grew. The results have been nothing short of spectacular, with unit growth exceeding 90% since 2001 and average unit volume increasing 140% during the same time frame. For more details on their growth story, read our Once Upon a Child blog post.
In addition, Once Upon A Child has been ranked as the #1 kids’ apparel retailer by Entrepreneur magazine for more than 15 straight years, and today the brand is experiencing its best year ever 25 years after its inception.