Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa-Based Consignment Sales Franchise Reorganizes after Growth

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa-Based Consignment Sales Franchise Reorganizes after Growth

Article excerpt

Just Between Friends Franchise Systems Inc. continues to grow in spite -- or maybe because -- of the economy.

In three years, the Tulsa-based company founded more than a decade ago has more than doubled its number of franchises.

Co-founder and President Shannon Wilburn said part of that reason is sales have grown by an average of 30 percent each year since 2008.

Just Between Friends Tulsa had the company's largest children's and maternity consignment sales events in 2010. Topping more than $100,000 at a single sales event earned the franchise JBF's Top Achiever label.

"We significantly added Top Achievers this year," Wilburn said. "They did it by working at the grass-roots level."

Designed around the consignment sale, JBF has 121 franchises in 24 states. Each has two sales a year - one in the spring and the other in the fall; with sales lasting from three to seven days. Families across the country participate as consignors, earning up to 70 percent of the sale price.

In most cases, the sales use armies of volunteers who are usually selling items, said Paul Tackett, husband of company co-founder Daven Tackett and co-owner of the Tulsa franchise.

Depending on the number of hours they volunteer to work, the volunteer-consignors earn a higher return on their products - up to 70 percent. Volunteers can also shop the sale prior to the public event.

Wilburn said capital costs to open a JBF franchise can be as high as $31,000, including a $12,900 franchise fee.

"And out of that they have to pay the rest, advertising, everything it takes to run an event," she said. "We tell our franchisees not to expect to make any money in the first three years they are in business."

Still, once those up-front costs are covered, she said a franchisee can earn between 35 and 40 percent of gross sales.

With growth strong and sales increasing, Wilburn and Daven Tackett said they have reorganized the company. Wilburn stepped into a corporate role full time, while Tackett and her husband took over the Tulsa franchise.

"Going forward, we are where we want to be," Daven Tackett said.

The Tacketts have introduced new technology and plan to unveil a new website and a universal consignment number for customers. Currently, consignors in each city have a number that can overlap. For example, someone in Owasso might want to sell at the Tulsa event, but would need a different number.

"We had outgrown the original system," Daven Tackett said.

Sales records supplied by the company demonstrate its record- setting growth. In 1997, records show JBF generated about $4,460 in sales - $1,800 from the spring sale and $2,660 from the fall event. Ten years later sales had skyrocketed to $463,000 for the spring and $450,000 for the fall - more than $900,000. Companywide revenues were $4 million 2008. …

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