Share “Franchisee finds silver lining in...”

Franchisee finds silver lining in company's end

Todd Crosby, who operated the Tan & Tone America in Stillwater, said business has doubled since he rebranded and distanced himself from the now defunct chain.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: January 28, 2013

In the days after Tan & Tone America abruptly shuttered all its metro area locations in July, franchisee Todd Crosby received hundreds of phone calls a day from irate customers.

Many of them found out the tanning and fitness chain had gone under by reading a note taped to the business's doors. Eleven locations were abandoned, calls to the corporate headquarters went unanswered.

But Crosby remained open. He explained to disgruntled customers that he would honor their memberships, coupons and unused gift certificates, but being an hour drive from Oklahoma City, most declined.

“It had a huge effect on my business the first few weeks,” Crosby said. “I had people actually drive from Oklahoma City and demand money from me.”

Name change

Crosby rebranded his location, changed the name to Tan & Tone Unlimited and began an advertising campaign to distance himself from the defunct chain. He said he also paid a $5,000 penalty for operating one day without a license during the transition.

But once the dust settled, business doubled.

New policies

Crosby had wanted to leave the franchise and become independent before, but was deterred by the fee he'd have to pay to leave the company. On his own, he implemented new policies, such as semester-long memberships that cater to his college student clientele, instead of the longer-term deals required by his former corporate parent.

He added the ability to process credit cards. Plus, he's no longer on the hook for a franchise fee.

“Everything has been a lot easier for us to operate ...,” Crosby said.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Obama to deliver State of the Union on Jan. 20
  2. 2
    Parents of accused Aurora shooter plead for his life
  3. 3
    Dropped your phone in water? The fix isn't rice
  4. 4
    Candy Crowley's final guest is a big one: Obama
  5. 5
    FBI confirms North Korea behind Sony hack
+ show more