One positive sign on the economy: People are buying a lot of T-shirts.
Proof is in Dunedin-based Big Frog Custom T-Shirts and More, a chain of fast-order, high-tech T-shirt design stores. Big Frog is in the midst of one of its best years ever, with systemwide revenues up 26.8% in the first quarter over the same quarter last year. And that comes on the heels of previous stellar growth in new stores, average sales per store and systemwide revenues.
More good news: The Big Frog location in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood is on pace in 2016 to become the first store in the chain to surpass $1 million in annual sales. “That's pretty exciting,” Big Frog President Tina Bacon-DeFrece tells Coffee Talk.
Company executives say the Big Frog message — no setup fees, no artwork fees, no minimums...no kidding — resonates with customers, especially people looking for short and fast orders. Customers can create their own shirts and designs in the stores, and most orders are ready that day.
Big Frog added four new locations in the first quarter, pushing the total count to more than 65 stores spread through 21 states. Executives hope to add 25 more locations by 2017.
That kind of growth, Bacon-DeFrece says, requires several additional levels of support. The company, for starters, recently expanded its corporate headquarters, on Main Street in downtown Dunedin, from 2,200 square feet to 4,400 square feet. It added boardrooms, conference rooms and a training center for franchisees.
Support, says Bacon-DeFrece, who helped launch the firm in 2006, also comes from new senior-level leadership positions. The company currently seeks a pre-store opening compliance officer, for example, someone who can make sure nothing gets missed when new franchisees make their debut. More support could be coming from outside investors: Big Frog CEO Leeward Bean has been meeting with potential venture capital investors, to furnish more expansion.
At a glance
Big Frog, sales growth
Year Revenue % Growth
2013 $11.36 million
2014 $14.41 million 26.8%
2015 $18.7 million 29.7%
Source: Big Frog Custom T-Shirts and More