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Barbershop franchise targets Pennsylvania, midstate

York, Harrisburg areas on the list of possible locations for Kennedy's All-American Barber Club franchise

The old-school barbershop is making a comeback in franchise form.

Massachusetts-based Kennedy’s All-American Barber Club, a barber franchise that bills itself as a kind of modern-day country club, is targeting Pennsylvania as part of a plan to add 30 franchisees over the next 12 months.

“Our goal is to get into Pennsylvania and Atlanta this year with a couple of new franchisees,” said Jay Hummer, the company’s CEO.

Kennedy’s currently has 11 locations in Connecticut, Florida and New Jersey. Another 10 franchises have been sold in Connecticut, New York and Tennessee.

Pennsylvania, especially the midstate, has become a focal point for the chain because of the success it has seen in neighboring New Jersey.

And Pennsylvania is a big state, Hummer added. “It’s all about finding the right franchisees.”

The right franchisees might be in York County, he said. They could also be in the Harrisburg area.

In addition to offering hair cuts, Kennedy’s features lounges with amenities such as pool tables, coffee bars and areas to watch Sports Center. It’s a place for men who want a great grooming experience and a place to network or just to hang out, Hummer said.

“It’s not just for the elite. It’s for an everyday guy who wants to enjoy the experience,” he said. “It’s no different than joining a gym.”

Like a gym, Kennedy’s charges a monthly membership fee that can vary depending on the location and level of service. The basic haircut membership is around $50 per month in Florida, while the same member in New Jersey or Connecticut pays $65 to $75 per month.

Members can book appointments and purchase products online.

Walk-in traffic also is welcome. That non-member business makes up 17 to 40 percent of sales at the company’s corporate locations, Hummer said. “That’s a direct correlation to the location you’re in.”

The brand is looking for a lively downtown or suburban plaza that gets healthy foot traffic. The typical club fits in about 1,300 to 1,500 square feet, and has six to eight barber chairs. 

So far, only one of the brand’s franchisees has come from a barber background, Hummer said. The majority of owners are business investors who like the Kennedy’s model.

“We’re really different and unique,” Hummer said. “It’s a high-level experience.”

Depending on building costs and location, a new franchisee might spend anywhere from $150,000 to $280,000 to open a Kennedy’s, including a $39,000 franchise fee. There is a sliding royalty fee of 6 to 8 percent.

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