Local Cost Cutters salon routinely clips others as nation's busiest franchise
In Kyle Hovey's world, size doesn't matter.
Volume does, and that's no surprise because Hovey and his 64 employees cut and style hair at two Cost Cutters salons in Janesville.
But beyond the stylists' chairs, volume has taken on a new dimension for Hovey.
For the last 24 years, he has received the franchise's National Outstanding Achievement Award, the highest award recognition for a salon owner.
In short, Hovey's salon on Milton Avenue is the highest volume—the busiest—of any of the 1,200 Cost Cutters in the United States.
"It says an awful lot about our staff," Hovey said. "I've got great managers and great people. Without them, I wouldn't be anywhere."
Hovey moved to Janesville 27 years ago to open a Cost Cutters franchise on Milton Avenue. The location south of the post office served him well. A neighboring redevelopment project, however, resulted in the salon's recent move across the street to 1809 Milton Ave.
Hovey started his business with some goals: Create a positive culture, emphasize quality in every area, pay attention to detail, provide excellent customer service and never stop training staff.
They are simple goals that are almost clichés, he admits. But they've built a local business that has won top national honors in 24 of the 27 years Hovey has been in business.
They've also built a loyal customer base that has annually grown the business.
"We should win every year," Hovey said. "We never ever give up on the systems."
Hovey also owns Cost Cutters inside the Janesville and Beloit Wal-Mart stores. He launched his second Janesville location when the new Wal-Mart opened in 2006.
The second store didn't have much effect on the Milton Avenue store, which again was named the franchise's busiest.
"We were so far ahead that it didn't hurt us," he said. "That was the time when the economy was starting to turn bad.
"While we did lose some salon visits—people came every six or eight weeks for colors instead of every four—we gained business in terms of basic haircuts."
Hovey's stores at the two Wal-Marts also have routinely been recognized as top-ranking salons in the franchise system, which markets itself as a professional, full-service salon for busy, value-conscious families.
"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished because Janesville is such a small market," he said. "We've hired good people. Most have been here more than 10 years, and we have 10 people who have been here more than 20 years.
"Janesville has been great to me. I've got nothing to complain about."