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 480 stores and growing.
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.
Having received its share of accolades over the years, including top retail franchise by Entrepreneur magazine several times, #1 franchise in its category for several years in a row 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.