Multi-brand franchisee headed for 60 Tide Cleaners locations
Experienced is an Understatement
Justin Sharbutt is the ultimate multi-unit franchisee. With a slew of accomplishments already under his belt, Sharbutt is always looking to expand his footprint within the franchising world. Currently, he owns and operates Dunkin’, BurgerFi, Baskin Robbins, and 54 – yes, 54 – Tide Cleaners with plans to reach 60 locations by the end of the year.
After graduating from Texas Tech University with a degree in Business Management, Sharbutt began working for his father, who eventually became one of his business partners. Together, they would begin searching for the perfect franchise for achieving their ambitious business goals.
“We were always looking for franchising opportunities because we understood and trusted the concept,” says Sharbutt. “When you become a franchisee, the franchisor provides a tried-and-true playbook that maps out your steps from beginning to end. If you follow the guidelines, you should have a designated route to achieve your goals as a business owner.”
Turning the Tide
Sharbutt opened his first franchise location with Dunkin’ in 2014. Once he established himself in the restaurant industry, Sharbutt and his business partner Brandt Stravlo decided to broaden their horizons.
“Brandt and I were reading a magazine when we turned to a page that quickly piqued our interest. The title: ‘Now Franchising Tide Cleaners’,” said Sharbutt. “We called that day, and by the very next week, we were in Cincinnati for Discovery Day.”
Sharbutt was initially attracted to Tide Cleaners because of the brand’s familiarity and its reputation. He was also impressed with Tide Cleaners’ environmentally friendly initiatives. Tide Cleaners uses GreenEarth® Cleaning solvents, which replaces petrochemical solvents used in traditional dry cleaning. This innovative product is an odorless, colorless solution that is ideal for fabric care and is better for the environment. The GreenEarth® Cleaning solvent provides a safer alternative for employee use as well.
With zero dry cleaning experience, Sharbutt and his business partner received detailed training to ensure their confidence as they prepared to open their first store in 2015. Since then, he’s built a Tide Cleaners empire with locations across Texas and Colorado. Sharbutt hopes to reach 100 storefront locations within the next 10 years.
“It’s very comforting to know that Tide Cleaners, as a franchise, is thinking ahead, thinking of other revenue streams, and thinking of more opportunities to add on to our business,” said Sharbutt. “In addition to that, there is comfort in knowing Tide Cleaners isn’t going anywhere. I bet every single household has a Tide symbol in their house right now.”
Embracing a Market Strategy
Now, Sharbutt and his partner are pouring their efforts into an exceptional niche, acquiring older dry cleaners and transforming them into Tide Cleaners. Sharbutt landed an incredible deal just six months ago that was years in the making. For three years, Sharbutt and his team worked tirelessly to expand their Denver footprint by acquiring three Impressive Cleaners stores and converting them into Tide Cleaners locations.
Sharbutt recognizes the privilege of having a huge company like Proctor & Gamble supporting his endeavors. His approach to taking on existing businesses and utilizing the space with an already established customer base is proving to be beneficial to Tide Cleaners, the mom-and-pop shops, and surrounding communities.
“This was a family owned and operated business. Not only are we helping ourselves, but also helping those who don’t want to take over the family dry cleaning business, all while making it a priority to still serve the community,” said Sharbutt.
Aside from his career, Sharbutt’s biggest accomplishment is being a father. He’s the proud dad of five children ranging in age from 7-18. Juggling his familial duties as well as his business endeavors takes a lot of work.
“Finding the right balance can be challenging,” said Sharbutt. “We have a lot of stores, a lot of employees, and I have a lot of kids, but I’m grateful to be surrounded by supportive family, friends, and employees that allow me to do it all.”
Juggling multiple units with four different franchises takes a huge team and a lot of support. For each brand, Sharbutt and his business partners have directors that help delegate tasks for those out in the field. He also recognizes Stravlo, who is the COO of their company and spends his time in and out of the stores. For Sharbutt, his average day includes real estate, reviewing contracts, and finding available acquisitions to close on.
When he isn’t in the office, Sharbutt can be found outside. His favorite way to spend time is being outdoors camping, hunting, fishing, playing golf, skiing, snowboarding… if there’s an activity outdoors, he’s there. While he has a passion for nature and all it has to offer, he also finds immense joy in working with businesses.
“I love the business aspect of franchising; it’s not just a job to me,” said Sharbutt. “I sincerely love what I do. I encourage others to find and stick with whatever lights a fire in their soul.”
Advice from the Ultimate Multi-Unit Franchisee
Sharbutt encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to explore franchising opportunities with ambitious goals. From his own experience, he’s found owning multiple locations to be easier than simply owning one.
“I know you have to start out with that one store, but the saying rings true that ‘If you want a job, buy one store; if you want a career, buy multiple’,” said Sharbutt. “If you only have one store, you’ll get lost in the weeds of daily operations for that one location, but if you have multiple coupled with the right team, it becomes easier to manage.”
Tide Cleaners has 228 locations across the nation. All outlets are designed and equipped to provide a wide variety of services for their customers. In addition to dry cleaning, Tide offers outerwear cleaning, shirt laundry, wash-and-fold, household item cleaning, and wedding dress cleaning. Tide Cleaners also offers alterations and shoe cleaning and repair. If you’re looking for a franchise to kickstart your dreams of becoming your own boss, Sharbutt suggests starting your search with Tide Cleaners.