Spice Franchise or Build Your Own Spice Store?

Have you been  giving some serious thought to opening a spice store? You have two choices, but which one is better for you? You either go the route of finding a spice franchise or you go the DIY path and build your own Independent Spice Store. 

The advantages of going with a franchise can be very appealing (and those that are selling franchises will be the first to tell you so) – these companies help with site selection (at least some level of guidance), you typically own a territory, you're given a store build out plan (so you can look like all their other spice stores), you'll receive an opening inventory list (they get a cut of this action too). This makes it easier to start a store if you have no idea where to start (oh and you have some nice liquid cash on hand) but of course there is "the other side of the coin" you want to at least be aware of.

Start with the “franchise fee” that runs from $40k to over $100k (depending on the franchiser) and that’s just for the privilege of signing your name to the franchise agreement before you even get started. You’ll need another $100k to $150k to secure the building, do the build out, buy all the store display stuff (shelves, cabinets, counters, store decorations), buy the POS (Point of Sale system) and then last but not least buy the inventory. This doesn’t even take into account advertising for your new store. Oh and you’ll have to pay a royalty fee for every ounce of spice sold – forever!

The other option is to instead choose to start an Independent Spice Store and build it from the ground up. It’s not easy and you’ll have even more  work to do. In no particular order - you’ll need to pick the name for your spice store (something related to spices, easy to remember but don’t be too clever) and incorporate in your state (cost about $99 through Legal Zoom or use your attorney for about $300).
You’ll also need to have a logo designed. You’ll still need to secure a building (leases are the most practical), build out the space, buy a POS system (Intuit/ Quickbooks works well for many small businesses), buy inventory and advertise.  But you’ll have an extra $40k to $150k to invest into your business. Oh and no ongoing royalty fee.

If you go the independent route you'll need to know what to look for in a wholesale spice company.

By going the DIY route you’re building your own brand. Every time one of “your” customer’s pulls one of “your” spices, seasonings or gourmet salts out of their spice cabinet your brand is reinforced (and not the mothership who is who a franchisee is actually building a brand for).

Is it easy? Heck no! Can it be done? Yes.

So what's the bottom line on this? It really comes down to the individual. I recently sat down with a local downtown business manager who has done a masterful job of turning around a small downtown area that when she started had a 30%+ vacancy rate (they now have less than 5%). She told me that when she met with potential small business owners who wanted to move into this high traffic downtown area she could tell within the first 10 minutes if they understood how to be successful running a small business. That's exactly what I've found as well. You either have the inner drive needed to be a successful small business entrepreneur or you don't.

What are the keys to spice store success?

Contact Rob at 1-888-762-8642 or send him an email at rob@spicesinc.com and let us answer any questions you might have.

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