Plato’s Closet® Case Study

Winmark® Franchising Partners Helps Plato's Closet Become #1 Clothing Resale Franchise for 7 Years!

In January 1999, Winmark bought the franchise rights to Plato’s Closet® and started franchising in March of that year with just four existing stores in operation. Fast forward almost 20 years later, and Plato’s Closet has turned into one the great success stories in franchising, boasting over 460 stores and growing. Having received its share of accolades over the years, including top retail franchise by Entrepreneur magazine several times, #1 franchise in its category for 7 straight years and voted by Forbes magazine as the #1 franchise investment in 2012 and the #3 franchise investment in 2014 in the nation, Plato’s Closet® continues to impress both its franchisee partners and the industry two decades later.

For Winmark®, Plato’s Closet® represented a phenomenal growth story. Having fixed brands and sold brands in the first couple of years after taking over the helm at what was then known as Grow Biz, this was the first brand where we were able to successfully plan and grow a fledgling brand into a franchise superstar, focusing on the core strengths of the brand and utilizing a combination of marketing and public relations, as well as digital and social media, to accelerate the growth rapidly throughout North America.

To do so required a solid concept, strong unit level economics, an efficient operational plan and franchisee success in both the short and long run. Plato’s Closet® experienced all of those things and more, and quickly became one the best success stories in franchising and a nationally-recognized brand. The best part of the story is it continues to be written, as new markets and new franchisees continue to enter the system, and new technology platforms in digital and social media give our franchisees better direct access than ever before to their customers. With a strong foundation, an excellent business plan, and solid franchise partners, Plato’s Closet’s growth story continues to unfold two decades later.


Unit Volume*
  • $586,711
  • $731,797
  • $963,880
Total Number
of Units
  • 45
  • 241
  • 468
*The amounts stated are as reported in Item 19 of the 2002, 2009 and 2017 Plato’s Closet® Franchise Disclosure Documents, respectively (based on the previous year’s Gross Sales). In 2001, of the 24 stores that reported, 11 stores or 46% of the reporting stores attained or exceeded the Average Unit Volume. In 2008, of the 200 stores that reported, 92 stores or 46% of the reporting stores attained or exceeded the Average Unit Volume. In 2016, of the 316 stores that reported, 143 stores or 45% of the reporting stores attained or exceeded the Average Unit Volume. A new franchisee’s results will likely differ from these results.


  • Forbes Best Small Companies
  • Franchise Times Top 200
  • IFA Franchising Member
  • CFA Member
  • Franchise 500 2018

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