Dreaming BIG


Salomon Mishaan

Colombian-born Salomon Mishaan had a problem when he relocated to the U.S.: he couldn’t find a dry cleaner that did things the way he’d gotten used to them in Europe and other places he had traveled. Rather than despair, he realized he’d found a market ripe for innovation.

Leveraging his background in industrial transformation and his experience in revamping three major industrial plants in Venezuela to adhere to ISO quality control standards, Mishaan envisioned a system that could be both efficient and quality-centric. The result is a growing franchise operation called OXXO Cleaners that Care.

What’s an OXXO?

If you call your plant “Joe’s Cleaner’s” we all understand the meaning of the name. But what about OXXO?

“The company name’s origin dates back to Spain, where its logo was initially conceived to represent a Vespa-style scooter, with the ‘O’s as wheels, the first ‘X’ as the handlebar, and the second ‘X’ as the seat,” said Mishaan. The design actually drove the brand’s identity and its name.

The key features of an OXXO location include:

  • A boutique atmosphere with open view to the back
  • Hand-ironing
  • Strictly GreenEarth cleaning (for many years, it was the only franchise using it exclusively)
  • All-electric equipment (no industrial steam boilers)
  • 24-hour ATM-style garment pickup
  • Air-conditioned plant for employee comfort
  • Meaningful engagement and support of various philanthropic initiatives

Three core offerings define the company: Convenience, through its 24-hour garment pickup system; Commitment to the Environment, by utilizing green solvents and energy-efficient equipment; and Quality, ensuring each garment is hand-ironed, avoiding the use of steam presses. “This trifecta of services ensures OXXO stands out in the dry cleaning industry,” Mishaan said.

The initial idea

It was always the plan that OXXO would develop franchise opportunities, rather than remain a small single-location company. In 2001, Mishaan gathered a group together to consider each aspect of what they envisioned as a successful cleaning shop. After two years of planning, five initial franchisees signed on and growth has been steady ever since.

“As of our latest update, OXXO Cleaners that Care is proud to operate 45 franchises, including locations that span across international borders, reflecting our global appeal and the adaptability of our business model. Additionally, we are excited about the ongoing development of nine new franchises. These include an eagerly anticipated location in Katy, Texas, slated to open its doors in March 2024,” Mishaan said.

OXXO has also installed 1,200 ATM-style lockers in over 100 buildings (mostly in South Florida, but with expansion under way elsewhere) so customers can drop off garments for processing and access their cleaned garments around the clock. “This is in line with our vision for seamless integration of dry cleaning services into the modern, fast-paced lifestyle,” Mishaan said.

Maintaining the Brand

One of the most difficult issues in franchising is making sure all locations uphold the same standards and philosophy. At OXXO, this means retaining some corporate-owned facilities for training and innovation.

“Our corporate plants are the proving grounds for the latest in equipment and eco-friendly products, ensuring that any new introduction aligns with our commitment to green practices,: said Mishaan. “They also serve as test sites for new marketing strategies and sales initiatives, allowing us to refine our approach before broader implementation.

“The principal plant, located in Hollywood, Florida, doubles as a training facility. Here, new franchisees receive comprehensive instruction, ensuring they are well-versed in OXXO’s operational standards, service excellence, and brand ethos.

“Currently, our corporate operations comprise three full-service plants and four drop stores, totaling seven locations that are integral to our operational strategy and the continuous evolution of the OXXO Cleaners that Care brand.”

An important aspect of branding is training, and OXXO’s program includes pre-opening training of all staff at the corporate headquarters to immerse the franchisee in the OXXO culture and standards. Once a location is open, on-site training continues, tailored to the specific needs of the staff. Monthly educational webinars inform the franchisee of the latest industry developments, best practices, and updates to operational procedures. On-demand support is always available, as well.

The details

The OXXO website clearly lays out the financial side of becoming a franchisee. (Figures in US dollars)

  • $100,000 in liquid assets
  • $250,000 net worth required
  • 2% National Ad Fund & 2% Local Marketing Fund (based on gross revenue)
  • 6% royalty (based on gross revenue)
  • $164,000-$800,500 total estimated investment for a plant store
  • $180,000-$840,000 total investment to operate plant store with multiple routes
  • $39,500 initial franchise fee

What the franchisee gets for that is a robust partnership with a company that is determined to see each of its franchisees succeed.

It begins with evaluating the location the new operator has selected, working with architects to develop drawings, guidance in selecting and working with building contractors, regular site inspections to be sure standards are maintained, thorough training of all staff, and grand opening coordination.

Though each boutique shop looks different, standardization inside encompasses all equipment and products used in the cleaning process—from point-of-sale to the dry cleaning machines, as well as each iron and conveyor belt.

“Each franchisee is provided with the same high-quality equipment to ensure uniformity in service quality,” Mishaan said. “This consistency extends to the solvents and detergents used; all franchise locations are required to utilize GreenEarth for solvent needs and our specially formulated laundry detergent. We are proud to announce that we have taken our commitment a step further by white labeling our detergent. This exclusive product, OXXO Planet Pure by Top Terra, is tailored to meet our stringent quality and environmental standards. All franchisees will be required not only to use this product but also to offer it to their customers.

“Attention to detail and commitment to uniform standards allows customers to experience the same transparent, high-quality service at any OXXO Cleaners that Care they visit. It also simplifies operations for franchisees, as they can rely on a proven system and process to service garments effectively. This uniform approach is pivotal to maintaining the integrity and reputation of the OXXO brand.”

Franchisees are also required to purchase their equipment and supplies from an approved network of distributors and vendors. The requirement extends to marketing services, as well, so the message across all locations is consistent.

“By streamlining procurement through specified vendors, we also streamline operations for our franchisees, providing them with a trusted source for all their operational and marketing needs. This ensures not only consistency in the customer experience but also aids in maintaining our high operational standards and supports the integrity of the OXXO Cleaners that Care brand across the franchise network,” Mishaan said.

Proudly successful

In the last 10 years, OXXO has been ranked in Franchise 500 Entrepreneur Magazine five times. Its franchisees are encouraged from the outset to expand their service territories through a “hub and spoke” model in which the plant is the center. It serves the immediate area, but routes, 24/7 service lockers and unmanned kiosks, as well as drop stores are all part of the OXXO model. An online statistic says that over 60% of individual franchisees have gone on to be successful multi-unit owners.

The company feels it has had an impact on the industry from an environmental standpoint, as well. Its commitment to environmental initiatives from the beginning, and mandating a reduced carbon footprint for all franchisees sets a benchmark for others.

Tim Maxwell, President, GreenEarth

“Salo understood the transition to sustainable practices that industries were going to need to focus on,” said Tim Maxwell, GreenEarth President. “He saw the opportunity to make an imprint on professional garment care with a franchise offering that incorporated GreenEarth Cleaning exclusively, hand-ironing, 24/7 garment drop-off and retrieval, all in a bright and attractive environment. OXXO has grown substantially over the 20+ years since they put in their first GreenEarth machine, and we enjoy our collaboration with their head office team and their network of franchisees.”

“OXXO was ‘green’ long before it became a mainstream concern,” said Mishaan. “From the outset, our use of GreenEarth and other environmentally sustainable practices set us apart, establishing OXXO as a trailblazer rather than a follower in the ‘green’ movement. We didn’t jump on the bandwagon; we were the bandwagon.”

The ultimate test of success, however, is customer buy-in. OXXO finishing is hand-done and costs a little more. But according to the company, when a happy OXXO customer moves from one place to another, he or she seeks out another OXXO location for the same quality of service and corporate ethos.

Any plans for Canada?

OXXO is presently in “the strategic evaluation and research phase” regarding expansion to Canada. The process involves thorough market analysis, consumer demand, and regulatory review. According to Entrepreneur.com, “This company is offering new franchises in the following international regions: Asia, Middle East, Europe (Western), Central America, Canada, South America.”

For more information, visit the website.

Not for Everybody

Franchising, and it’s inherent “Big Brother” aspect, is not for everybody. Some people got into business to become their own boss, run the whole show, and be free to dream in any direction they wish. Others want someone to hold their hand a bit more and give strong guidance in exchange for a shot at a solid success model.

Whichever way you go, we salute you!

If you are Dreaming & Doing, drop us a line and tell us your story (becca@fabricarecanada.com). We’re featuring people like you all this month.

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