Interview with Multigenerational Sport Clips Franchisees
Al and AJ Rodriguez, a father-son duo of multigenerational franchise owners with a combined total of 35 locations in Pennsylvania and Ohio, are a living testament to the Sport Clips proven business model. Sport Clips is proud to provide a system that allows franchise owners of any background to find a thriving path in business ownership. Keep reading to learn more about Al and AJ’s journey, and why Sport Clips could be the franchise opportunity for you.
What made you choose Sport Clips?
Al: I selected Sport Clips because the business model fit what I was looking for: work ‘on’ the business, not ‘in’ the business. I don’t cut hair, nor do I grow it very well. I needed to continue working my ‘day job’ for a couple more years. Also, I felt that Sport Clips filled a need, as full-service salons weren’t desirable for men and boys, and barber shops were disappearing.
Sport Clips’ values resonated with me as well—‘do what’s right, do your best, and treat others the way they want to be treated.’ I lived these values at my ‘day job’ but some people there didn’t share these values. I also liked the fact that Sport Clips is focused on delivering an ‘experience’ for our clients, and not a low-price provider. It’s also a recurring business, in that if you do a good job, clients will continue to return. There is little inventory, and it’s internet and recession proof.
Why did you decide to join your family in the franchise business?
AJ: Our values as a company and the opportunity it provided to work hard and be rewarded for that hard work. Nothing is given in our company, and everything is earned. Timing also played a large role, as my father was looking to retire from his day job at the same time I was graduating from college.
How has being a family of business owners impacted your career path?
Al: I started working at 12 years old and had a successful career in sales and management. When I decided to become a franchisee and open Sport Clips stores, my prior experiences helped me to get off to a good start. At first, it was difficult managing a ‘day job,’ starting a franchise business, and being there for my family, raising two kids. Being a Sport Clips Team Leader has allowed me the opportunity to bring my family into the business. With my son being in the business and running the day-to-day, I now have the gift of time and spend it where I want. I love the business and still work a lot, but I’m also able to enjoy traveling and volunteering.
AJ: I was ambitious in my own entrepreneurial endeavors and grew to appreciate all that my parents had accomplished in business. I really admired them and chose to join the business after having run my own. They were and continue to be an inspiration to what I hope to become.
What impact has franchising had on your life?
AJ: Franchising has changed dramatically in the 20 years we’ve been engaged with it. In the early 2000s, it was one of the outliers. Now, it is one of the biggest industries supplying a large portion of domestic jobs. Franchising allows us to follow a proven playbook that allows for growth and jobs in our regions we choose to serve. Our lifestyle is largely based on the impact we can make in the communities we do business. I’m proud that we’ve built a business that gives us freedom of time and a stable financial environment.
What do you enjoy most about being multigenerational franchise owners?
Al: I get tremendous satisfaction watching my son learn and grow. I’m truly blessed to get to work with him every day. We’ve been working together for over 10 years, and we’ve had our challenges, but I wouldn’t change a thing. A significant component to our success as multi-unit franchise owners is the culture that we have built as local franchisees. We share our values by demonstrating them every day. Legacy is real, and knowing that my son is involved in the business and shares the same values gives me hope that my legacy will continue.
AJ: Leaving a legacy is important to both my father and myself, and we have aspirations to build something bigger than both of us. Lots of people depend on us now, and we want to build something that’s self-sufficient and dependable.
What are you most proud of in your experience with Sport Clips?
AJ: As a company, we’ve added two new brands and over 30 locations in the last eight years. It has been very rewarding watching roles develop and people do more than they ever thought they could. We’ve grown from around 60 to over 350 employees. It has been really fun watching the growth of the companies over the period of time we’ve been doing this.
Personally, I’ve been able to develop my knowledge, skills, and connections tenfold since joining the business. Being a part of a franchise system allows you to network with like-minded peers dealing with similar issues and aspirations. Many of them will be lifelong friends.
What makes you most excited about your future with Sport Clips?
AJ: This brand is a perennial Top 50 franchise system, and there’s a lot of exciting things to look forward to. Sport Clips just had its 30 year anniversary, and I think the future looks bright. We’re on our way to 50+ Sport Clips locations and want to continue the growth alongside our Franchisor.
Join the Sport Clips Franchise Family Today
If you too aspire to create a legacy that you can pass to future generations, now is a great time to invest in a Sport Clips franchise. We invite you to explore our research pages here for more information about the benefits of franchising with us. When you’re ready to start a conversation with our franchise team about your business aspirations, fill out our inquiry form here and we’ll get in touch with you soon. We look forward to learning more about you!