Doubling Down on a Great Opportunity

Doubling Down on a Great Opportunity

At first glance, there’s nothing unusual about Smith’s story.  Most Pinot’s Palette franchise owners have a similar experience:  They hear about the paint-and-sip concept, do some research, fall in love with the company, and sign the paperwork to open a studio of their own.

But Smith is part of a growing number of franchisees who take things a step further by committing to two franchise opportunities. 

Chad Smith works full-time as a trader on Wall Street, but always wanted to own a business.  Many of his family members are business owners, and Smith liked the idea of being his own boss.  Last year, he started looking for franchise opportunities – and when he found Pinot’s Palette in September, he knew he wanted to learn more.

“Pinot’s Palette was fresh and accessible. It offered a low start-up cost, and the management was approachable,” says Smith. “It hit all the notes I was looking for in a franchise.”

Intrigued by the paint-and-sip concept, Smith and his fiancée Christena Amico spent some time researching the paint and sip industry – even checking out a few competitors.  But after the couple traveled to the company’s Houston headquarters to attend a Pinot’s Palette “Discovery Day,” the decision quickly became a no-brainer.  They were impressed with just about everything Pinot’s Palette had to offer – from the corporate training to the sold-out classes.

“During Discovery Day, we went to a class at the Galleria,” Smith says.  “It was a Sunday afternoon.  The studio was packed, and people were having a great time.  I was doing the return-on-investment calculations in my head, and I thought, ‘If a studio can sell out seats like that, it’s a great idea.’”

Shortly after Smith and Amico returned from Discovery Day, Smith signed the paperwork to open a Pinot’s Palette franchise in their hometown of Stamford, Connecticut.  They are now looking forward to a a mid-December studio opening.

At first glance, there’s nothing unusual about Smith’s story.  Most Pinot’s Palette franchise owners have a similar experience:  They hear about the paint-and-sip concept, do some research, fall in love with the company, and sign the paperwork to open a studio of their own.

But Smith is part of a growing number of franchisees who take things a step further by committing to two franchise opportunities.  After his Stamford studio is up and running, he’ll begin scouting locations for his second Pinot’s Palette studio, which will be located in the nearby community of Westchester, New York.

“The Right Industry and the Right Location”

Although the idea of two franchises might sound a bit overwhelming, Smith – a first-time franchise owner – says the decision simply made good business sense.  By opting for a two-studio agreement, Pinot’s Palette franchisees are able to lock in franchise fees and ensure that they have room for expansion.

Smith expects his Stamford studio – which is on track to be the first paint-and-sip franchise in the region – to generate quite a buzz in the community.  That’s whySmith committed to opening a second studio in the area.

“I wanted to have an opportunity to develop the business,” Smith says.  “Pinot’s Palette is a well-run company.  It’s the right industry and the right location.  People in the Northeast have a desire to get the most out of life; they want to go out and be social – but quite frankly, in some communities there are not a lot of fun opportunities.”

Smith’s Stamford studio will be his “flagship location.”  He plans to use that location to spark interest in the paint-and-sip industry before his Westchester studio opens sometime in 2014.  In addition to signing a two-studio area agreement, Smith also purchased a “mobile option,” which will give him the capability to offer off-site events, such as corporate parties.  By the end of next year, Smith will have two franchises in two communities, plus a mobile location to fill the gaps in between.

It’s a big commitment, to be sure – but Smith isn’t worried.  He has faith in Pinot’s Palette and in the paint-and-sip industry.  And he’s confident that the custom-designed Pinot Technology Suite (PTS) will make it easy to run two studios.

“With the PTS system, all of your studios can be linked up very easily,” he says.  “You can easily go from one studio to another, look at your revenues, and manage booking.”

Maximizing Opportunities in a New Market

Chad Smith isn’t the only new franchise owner taking advantage of a Pinot’s Palette area agreement.  Nevada residents and new franchisees Reed and Judy Alewel also saw the competitive advantage of committing to multiple studios.

Like most Pinot’s Palette franchise owners, the Alewels had been interested in owning a franchise for several years.  They looked into a couple of popular sandwich shops and frozen yogurt chains before they learned about Pinot’s Palette during a trip to a franchise expo in New York City.

“We were walking around the expo, and my thought was, ‘What can I be really passionate about?” Judy recalls.  “And then I saw Pinot’s Palette.  I love being creative, and I love that people can come in, learn, and go home with something – it’s a great way to give back to our community.”

When the Alewels returned from the expo, they began researching the paint-and-sip industry, and they looked into several companies, including Pinot’s Palette and one of its main competitors.  Reed – who has an extensive business background – says he was won over by the technology and operational advantages Pinot’s Palette had over the competition.

“As a business guy, I was concerned about the auxiliary systems – hiring, scheduling, payroll, and other details – but the Pinot’s Palette corporate team had an answer for everything,” he says.  “They were so professional, personable, and approachable.  They returned my phone calls.  It just let me know that this was an organization that had their act together.”

After attending Discovery Day, the Alewels signed an agreement to open two Pinot’s Palette franchises.  The decision to commit to multiple locations was an easy one, says Reed.

“I looked at the websites for other Pinot’s Palette locations – I looked at their calendars and class schedules, and they were all sold out,” Reed says.  He ran some numbers and decided that one location wouldn’t be enough for the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

The Alewels will open their first studio in their home town of Henderson, Nevada.  Their second location will be in Summerlin, a master-planned community located inside the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.  In addition to committing to two locations, they have also purchased two “mobile options” – and they haven’t ruled out the possibility of adding even more studios in the future.

“This could be a lucrative business, and we want to maximize our opportunity,” Reed says.  “If we need to add more studios or mobile options, we certainly will do so.”

For Judy, the decision to commit to multiple studios means a unique opportunity to set the standard for the paint-and-sip industry in Las Vegas.  “We really want to get in there as fast as we can – it’s a great opportunity to sell the brand, quality, and customer experience that comes with the Pinot’s Palette name.”

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