Cleveland Non-Profit Getting Into The Franchise Business

(PRESS RELEASE – May 7, 2009) – For the first time in Cleveland history, an area non-profit company has purchased a retail start-up franchise. This unique business model is known as a social enterprise, a growing movement in which nonprofit organizations leverage the power of business for community benefit.

In today’s economy, more and more shoppers are hunting for bargains, and retail outlets like dollar stores can provide some low cost options to help homeowners extend their budgets. One Cleveland, Ohio dollar store is filling this niche, but with a twist. Not only can area residents shop at the new Just-A-Buck dollar store located in Parma, a Cleveland suburb, but they can do some good, too!

Local franchise consultant, Joel Libava, explains;

“Anne Hach, the director of Key Entrepreneur Center at Cleveland Corporate College, wanted to make sure that the folks at the Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities {MR/DD} were in attendance for my quarterly class on franchising at the college. Anne informed me that they were interested in exploring the franchise ownership model to help employ their workers. Anne made sure that I met them before my class.”

“I toured a couple of MR/DD’s employment facilities, to get a better feel of what types of franchise concepts might work, and then scheduled an in-person meeting with the representatives of MR/DD and S.A.W. Inc., who is their non-profit partner, so I could start learning about all of their needs. During our meeting it became clear to me that a retail type of franchise would be the way to go, and my first thought was Just-A-Buck, a dollar store franchise out of New York. After all, a dollar store has a rapid inventory turn, and high traffic counts, which would be perfect for a sizeable amount of part-time employees.”

Libava coached them through the franchise research process, and almost two years later, it’s time for the Grand Opening of Just-A Buck, in Parma, Ohio. Information is below.

A new Just-A-Buck store in the Midtown Shopping Center in Parma, owned and operated by S.A.W., Inc., the nonprofit partner of the Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities, will open at the end of April. It will employ 15 workers who have mental retardation and other developmental disabilities, a store manager and two assistant managers. The workers with MR/DD will handle stocking and receiving, cleaning, check-out and bagging.

Just-A-Buck is a New York-based franchise that has only one other Ohio outlet in the Cincinnati area. Merchandise, all of it no more than a dollar, includes balloons, cards and party supplies, health and beauty aids, baby products, housewares, hardware, candles, stationery, cleaning aids, seasonal items, food, candy and many more items.

According to Store Manager Kim Pritchard, the 4,300-square-foot retail space is well-situated since the strip center is fully occupied and is convenient for foot traffic.

S.A.W. spent more than two years researching various franchise opportunities and investigating Just-A-Buck before making the 10-year commitment to ownership. A consumer study conducted prior to the economic turndown showed that more than one-third of all U.S. households regularly shopped at dollar stores on a monthly basis. The study further showed that dollar stores, once patronized primarily by low-income households, hold growing appeal for moderate and upper-income households, older consumers and ethnic groups. S.A.W. General Manager Teresa Lowery pointed out, “This is our first attempt at a franchise operation. Everything I read and see on news channels indicates that the experts are right about the value of, and need for, dollar stores in this economy. I believe the employment and training opportunities for workers with MR/DD are the driving force behind this project.””

1 Comment ▼

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

One Reaction
  1. Anita,
    Thank you so much for posting this important story.

    The store manager, myself, and some of the Just-A-Buck employees, were interviewed this week by the Cleveland NBC affiliate, WKYC-TV, and will be aired Friday, May 8th during either the 6:00PM or the 7:00PM news.

    Again, thank you for doing your part by posting this business story that is just so much more.

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

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