Financial Post:

The ever-increasing domination of big-box retailers across Canada has made things difficult for boutique store operators, but one company has proven that the timeless art of specialty retailing can also be turned into a successful franchise business.

Darren Bondar, a 36-year-old Alberta entrepreneur, decided in 1999 to open a single store on Edmonton’s trendy Whyte Avenue to test the concept of a boutique retailer of fashion-oriented watches, sunglasses and accessories, called Watch It!

Since then, he has embarked on a slow but steady expansion through franchising and now has 15 franchises and six corporate stores in major markets from Victoria to Ottawa.

“Our timing was good for growth,” says Mr. Bondar, who runs the company, traveling back and forth from his home in Calgary and Watch It! headquarters in Edmonton. He plans to keep the franchise model true to its roots as a specialty brand. Full post.

Photo: Leah Hennel / Canwest News Service.