Pottery chain wheels out big NYC expansion

Crain’s New York
Color Me Mine’s make-it-yourself chain aims to add three franchises here in the next year and to have 20 in the next several years. It’s an activity that’s great for “bonding.”
By Adrianne Pasquarelli | May 21, 2012

Do-it-yourself pottery chain Color Me Mine is painting the town red. The Glendale, Calif.-based franchiser is planning to open three Manhattan locations in the next 12 months, and expects to have 20 New York City outposts over the next several years, according to President Mike Mooslin.

“We want to go where family populations exist,” said Mr. Mooslin, noting that the company, which was founded in 1991, is concentrating on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side. It has operated a store in TriBeCa for five years.

Each space would cost a franchisee about $145,000 to open. Color Me, already a 140-unit chain with 15 additional outposts in the works around the world, is looking for Big Apple locations that range in size from 1,000 square feet to 1,400 square feet. So far, no leases are in negotiation though. Mr. Mooslin is also planning at least four Long Island shops.

With net sales up 3% last year, and its average store taking in $266,000 in annual revenue, the ceramics company is prospering by filling a need for family-oriented activities, according to Mr. Mooslin. The company caters to social activities such as baby showers, wedding parties and birthday parties. “There’s been a longing for more bonding activity and more family activity that’s missing in this age of cell phones and Gameboys and Wiis,” he said.

Another do-it-yourself franchiser, St. Louis-based Build-a-Bear Workshop, has had success in New York City with its 565 Fifth Ave. location. The company just reported $95.2 million in first quarter sales, a 1.6% increase over the year-earlier period, as well as a 3.6% increase in same-store sales for North America.

Not all of such retailers have prospered. Bath Junkie, an Arkansas-based company that allows shoppers to create their own beauty products, opened its first New York City outpost in NoLIta in 2008, but closed shortly after.