By Michelle Caceres
Fifteen years ago, Lea Orchard was a mother of four with a background as a CPA with a national firm. It was time to gain more control of the family’s financial destiny and the decision was made to own their own business. A few options were tossed around at first: a maid service, custom closet company, or a national brand hair salon.
Orchard quickly saw the potential of Great Clips, the world’s largest hair salon brand that was expanding into the Tampa Bay Area. It was a new brand in the Tampa Bay market and posed a great opportunity. Orchard became one of the area’s first franchisees, opening three stores by 2002.
She was undaunted by not having any experience as a hair stylist, apart from cutting hair for a few friends in high school and college. She knew that she would wear many hats as a franchise owner (she does her own books with her accounting background) but one of them would not be a stylist.
“I hire talented and qualified stylists who create quality haircuts in a timely fashion,” said Orchard. All of her stylists, in addition to being licensed by the state of Florida, also receive Great Clips training, learning the culture and mission of the brand.
Store Manager Amy Church has worked for Orchard for two years. She said that Great Clips is a great match for her. She loves the variety of her clientele. She can give a child his first haircut and her next client might be someone about to go on a job interview.
For Orchard, great customer service is her focus and Great Clips assists her in giving the client the best possible experience. The Great Clips online Check In App allows customers to log in from a computer or smart phone and view estimated wait time at her salons. Customers click the “check-in” icon to add their name to the wait list, and by the time they arrive, they are likely next or almost next in line.
“Online check-in is a testament that we value our clients’ time,” said Orchard, who now owns five Great Clips in the Tampa Bay area. Her newest store in Riverview opened in October 2015.
“My staff and I are very excited to be part of the vibrant, growing community of Riverview,” she said.
The store is located at 11653 Boyette Rd. in the Publix-anchored Goolsby Pointe Shopping Center. Its hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m.–9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Call 677-6300.