Franchise Simplifies Bargain Hunting

Just Between Friends Franchise Systems, Inc., a 10-year-old Tulsa-based franchise system operated by Shannon Wilburn and Daven Tackett, claimed $464,000 in fall 2006 revenues, up more than 13 percent from $409,000 in the spring and nearly 20 percent from $388,000 in the previous fall.
Just Between Friends is a large consignor’s sale featuring maternity and children’s items. Oklahoma sales take place in Broken Arrow, Lawton, Norman, Oklahoma City, Owasso/Claremore/Bartlesville, and Tulsa.
“No more running from garage sale to garage sale – we put it all under one roof,” reads the Just Between Friends website –
Each consignor is responsible for pricing and preparing items for sale. Volunteers merchandise the items and assist customers at the cash registers. Both consignors and volunteers are gathered via word-of-mouth advertising and the Just Between Friends website, said Wilburn, president, and Tackett, vice president.
“We project future growth,” Wilburn said. “Two years ago I thought we couldn’t get any bigger, and that was when our gross sales were about $250,000.”
The Tulsa Just Between Friends sale took place in the Trade Center at Expo Square, 4125 E. 21st St., Aug. 20-27. Each consignor earned an average of $375, or 70 percent of their items sold.
“Just Between Friends gives consignors an outlet to get rid of their nice boutique children’s clothing, their nice name-brand stuff, and recoup a large amount of the cost,” Wilburn said.
Each of the 39 franchises donates to at least one area non-profit organization. The Tulsa sale benefited Emergency Infant Services and Catholic Charities.
“We were able to write EIS a check for $7,500,” Tackett said of the most recent Tulsa sale.
Wilburn held the first Just Between Friends sale in her 400 SF living room at 101st Street and Mingo Road with 17 women from her church as consignors.
“We had four racks of clothing, and we used the kitchen drawers as cash drawers,” Wilburn said.
As the number of inquiries about having Just Between Friends sales in distant cities grew, becoming a franchise started to make sense.
“We were answering the same questions twelve times,” Wilburn said. “How do you market? How do you get consignors? That’s when we started franchising.”
“Now a sale is a no-brainer,” Tackett said. “We know how things are organized, how to run and market a sale. All we had to do was put that in writing and then give it to somebody else.”
Just Between Friends continues to exceed sales goals during its tenth year of business, Wilburn and Tackett said.
“This busines is a win-win for the consignor, for the non-profit and for you,” Wilburn said. ?

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