Fast-Fix Jewelry and Watch Repairs

FastFix

Fast-Fix Jewelry and Watch Repairs anticipates unprecedented growth in its near future. 

By Kat Zeman, Knighthouse Media

People love their jewels. Leaving jewelry or a watch at a store can be unnerving – even if the piece is inexpensive. Jewelry is personal, nostalgic and sentimental.

”It doesn’t matter if it’s worth $300 or $30,000,” says Gerry Weber, president and CEO of Fast-Fix Jewelry and Watch Repairs. “To that individual, it’s a prized personal possession and we honor that.” 

Since Fast-Fix stores operate out of malls, shopping centers and within major retail outlets, customers can shop while their prized possession is being fixed. For those that find parting with their jewels especially daunting, many Fast-Fix locations have repair stations that are easily visible for customers who want to watch their possessions being repaired. FastFix fact box

It’s a business model that has worked well for Fast-Fix, which has 154 locations in the United States and five in Ireland. Founded in 1984, the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company is the world’s largest chain of jewelry and watch repair facilities – and it expects to grow even bigger in the near future. “We believe that there will be unprecedented growth in the next three years,” says Eileen Proctor, vice president of franchising.  

Reasons For Growth 

Proctor points to three reasons for the predicted growth. First, the business model is internet and recession resistant, she says. “Because we focus on service as opposed to retail products, we find that even in bad economic times people repair their jewelry, rather than purchasing new,” Proctor adds. “And because our revenue is driven from service, we are not losing ground to online retailers like Amazon.”

Second, many independently-owned jewelry repair stores are closing or being forced to relocate – eliminating some competition. Since Sears has filed for bankruptcy and is closing its department stores, many of which had independently-owned jewelry repair centers inside, the independents are left scrambling. “A major player in the industry is gone and we will be there to assist,” Proctor says.  

Third, Fast-Fix is rolling out a brand conversion program that allows independently-owned jewelry/watch repair stores to convert their businesses into a Fast-Fix Jewelry model. 

“A lot of the independent stores are looking for ways to stay in business,” Proctor says. “Our brand conversion program will help independent jewelry repair businesses to become our franchisees. They will be able to stay in business and have our competitive advantage. “We’re trying to form alliances with them and bring them into the network.” 

Business Models

To open a Fast-Fix Jewelry franchise, investors must have at least $150,000 in liquid assets and a net worth between $300,000 to $500,000. The company charges a franchise fee of $40,000 per location. It also collects an ongoing royalty fee of 6 percent. 

But the cost of investment depends on location and the business model. Fast-Fix offers three different options. A kiosk model inside a mall, that averages around 160 square feet, ranges between $158,961 and $239,961. Inline storefronts inside shopping centers, from 350 to 1,000 square feet, range between $261,961 and 434,961. 

Then there’s the store-in-store option – a fast growing and popular model – that allows franchisees to set up inside retail superstores such as Walmart and Meijers. These average between 300 to 500 square feet cost between $102,961 and $210,961. 

“We’ve also had discussions for other venues,” Proctor says, giving the example of a mobile store located inside a van. “We’re exploring all kinds of options. We are not exclusively focusing on any particular one.” 

Franchisees receive assistance with store design, facility construction, site selection and are given access to a number of feasibility studies. They spend at least two weeks training at an operational Fast-Fix store and undergo a one-week orientation at the company’s Franchise Support Center in Boca Raton. Once operational, they receive ongoing support from a business coach. 

“We have not had a lot of turnover,” Weber says. “Our original franchisee is still with us after 31 years, and many are celebrating their 20-plus year anniversary.”

Not Fast Food 

Aside from jewelry and watches, Fast-Fix locations also offer eyeglass frame repair and some offer smartphone repair. Services also include custom jewelry design and personalized engraving. 

Each store is staffed with some of the industry's best-trained jewelers, watchmakers, watch repair professionals and smartphone technicians. “This is not fast food,” Weber says. “You can’t just hire anyone to work in this business. Our jewelers and watch makers are craftsmen and artisans who have been trained in gemology and they have many certifications.” 

 

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