iReporter
 

When a dad came looking to replace a missing keepsake T-shirt quilt for his daughter, Joe Mock knew his business in West Plano was much more than a T-shirt store. Suddenly, his investment into his new career took on a new, unexpected meaning.

The customer shared with Mock how his college-age daughter was devastated after her beloved quilt made from favorite high school T-shirts was stolen.

 “Somebody stole their big-screen TV and they think they used the quilt to cover it up when they walked out with it,” Mock says.

Determined to help replace one of his daughter's favorite possessions, her dad secretly cobbled together a few of the T-shirts from replicate extras. But, when he couldn't find a couple of her favorites he turned to Mock and his local Big Frog Custom T-shirt shop to customize the five T-shirts he couldn’t find.

“He had a picture of the five missing shirts, and we were able to recreate the designs for him. He did it as a surprise for her for Christmas.”

 Mock says he knew right then that Big Frog’s mission to have its businesses get involved in and plugged into their community had come full circle: Mock wasn’t just selling customized shirts and apparel, he was helping in creating memories and keepsakes to his friends and neighbors in Plano. As Mock soon discovered, there was no typical day in the Big Frog or entrepreneurial pond.

 “We’ve done some things that you don’t quite expect,” he says, including commemorative T-shirts as a tribute to a young person dying unexpectedly. “Maybe you’re doing a little bit more than printing a T-shirt. You realize how important it is for them to get it just right and have it for a memory.”

 While connecting with his community in Plano, Mock’s store sales reflected that bond. His year-to-date sales for 2016 landed his business at #1 out of 84 Big Frog franchises nationwide. In 2015, they ranked second; they were third in 2014. Not too bad for a store only opened in 2011.

Mock points to favorable demographics and his Plano community. “Our store sandwiches pretty good between schools. Right away, we got on the approved list of vendors with the Plano school district, and another school district (Lewisville) is right across the street.” Mock marketed to area booster club presidents and high school clubs such as theater and choir. They’ve also had tremendous success with area private schools.

“We’ve tried to make sure that when somebody came in, they had a reason to come back by providing a level of service that distinguished us from others,” he says. “Our repeat and referral business is 60 percent. Year over year, that continues to grow and we are so grateful to the community for their support.”

How did Mock find out about the entrepreneurial opportunity with Big Frog? He says he gets that question a lot. 

“The Big Frog concept is fairly unique in the way they approach business and the market niche they primarily pursue. I wanted to do something that I felt was a little more unique and what people had a need for,” he says.

When narrowing down his business choices from four to one, Mock says he liked the Big Frog concept of having graphic designers on staff, which makes “custom” shirts the real deal.

“Clients have an idea in their head and we’re able to take that idea and the artist is able to build it into a design. There’s really nowhere else where you can do that,” he says.

Texas is hot for small business start ups, with a $1.6 trillion GDP, no corporate or individual income tax and a relaxed regulatory environment, more people are finding that Texas is an excellent place to do business.

Taking advantage of this, FES, the largest franchise expo in the southern United States, is re-locating to Dallas in January. 

Other Plano residents can learn more about entrepreneurial franchising opportunities at the upcoming Franchise Expo South (FES) where they will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with top executives to find out if a franchise business is right for them, just as Joe Mock has done.

To register to attend the expo, visit www.FranchiseExpoSouth.com. Plano residents may use promo Code “PSR” to register for a free pass.