25 Years of Team Work: Curt Brannon and Sympateco

Curt Brannon, founder and CEO of Sympateco, describes his company’s relationship with Sport Clips Haircuts as "an ant farm." He says, “There is a lot of activity and work done below ground, but it’s about us not being visible from the surface. Our priority is to outfit each and every store seamlessly.

“A main reason people invest in a franchise is because everything has been thought out and the details worked out. Sympateco provides ‘open ready’ furnishings in the most efficient and cost-effective way to Sport Clips, one of the fastest growing haircare franchises in the nation.”

Brannon and Sympateco, then named Inner Salon Supply & Design, first began working with Sport Clips in 1995 as it was building its second store. As a licensed barber himself, Brannon was brought in to add value engineering on the brand’s initial store design.

He says he remembers walking around with a film box camera, taking pictures of the store, "I think I shot over 50 photos. We discussed where the challenges were with the existing design.  We discussed how the space flowed and where there were bottlenecks.  Nailing down the stylist space while creating the optimal retail experience was important.”

Brannon says never-ending, continuous improvement is what has propelled Sport Clips and Sympateco forward, “Adding value and eliminating waste have always been drivers in the refining of our process. Our mission is to provide a fair and equitable price structure that we can pass on to our clients, meaning avoiding price increases. We do what is most efficient, and most importantly, most sustainable. We always take the franchisee into account.”

Recalling two specific choices as examples, Brannon says, “The original retail display was a four-sided scoreboard. It was really difficult to build, making it rather expensive. We adjusted the design to be more cost-effective and functional, while still keeping the aesthetic value.”

The second efficiency example Brannon recalls is, “Early on we realized that instead of us supplying the washers and dryers for the stores, it was better to negotiate a national contract to have them purchased locally.  This is an example of how we are able to offset material costs through the power of leveraging.”

Having watched the brand grow, Brannon makes this observation, “It was clear Sport Clips wouldn’t grow at the expense of the brand, keeping the brand healthy and dynamic. Gordon’s (Logan, founder and CEO) strong conviction and clear vision of where the brand was going has helped it stay consistent. Throughout, he remains principled, especially in who he picks to be on his team.”

Recently Sympateco, outgrowing its original base of operations, expanded into a larger space in its hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Its over 100,000 square feet of production space has scaled to add even more value and efficiency with its full-service design, manufacturing, delivery and installation for Sport Clips and its roster of franchise clients.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of something so alive in its category,” concludes Brannon, “It has been a tremendous ride. And something very rare. My business has grown exponentially, and I couldn’t have done it without Gordon and Sport Clips.”