According to Franchise Wire, Under the Sun Garden Center in Oklahoma is the first nursery to franchise in the industry. According to the report "Under the Sun started out as Tulsa Flowers in May 1992 in Tulsa at the corner of 41st and Hudson when Owner Craig Bay sold spring flowers from a tent." It continues, " The Company currently has three locations in Tulsa, Okla.; four locations in Oklahoma City; one in Claremore, Okla. and one in Edmond, Okla. Under The Sunâ€™s franchise concept locations are in Edmond and Tulsa." This is certainly the first time I have heard of this. Under the Suns website claims that they have taken the local garden centers knowledge and service and combined it with the mega-stores product selection and self service to create the " industryâ€™s best selection and service, in a relaxing and creative environment." The cost to get in on a franchise runs "between $212,500 to $913,350 and is variant upon location. This includes a franchise fee of $40,000, as well as the necessary build-out, inventory, dÃ©cor, and startup costs associated with your gardening center."
I am amazed no one has thought of this before in our industry. While its not my cup of tea I can just see all the "I have always wanted to own a nursery" people licking their chops. Franchising seems to be the way for many who want a business, but also desire the perceived security of buying into a supported a system. This will be interesting to watch.