Before he created one of the nation’s best-known hair franchises, former Air Force pilot Gordon Logan watched another franchise go belly up.
Decades ago, Logan bought three hair salons in Texas, as part of the Command Performance franchise brand. But Logan quickly began noticing problems. Logan said the franchisor was opening locations even though store owners did not want them open.
Nearly three years later, the entire franchise was bankrupt.
“This was a good way for me to gain knowledge of franchising and how to operate the system,” Logan said in an interview.
Armed with that knowledge of what to do — and what not to do — Logan would go on to start his own hair salon franchise. Now, Sport Clips is perhaps the nation’s best-known salon for men and boys.
“I always had a clear picture in mind,” he said. “My goal was set — I wanted to be successful, get a job and continue learning. I did what I needed to reach my goal.”
Born in Sumter, South Carolina, Logan attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received his bachelor’s degree in engineering.
It was 1969 and the Vietnam War was raging. Logan didn’t have to worry about getting drafted — he had a deferment through his job — but he decided to join the military anyway, after his friends started getting drafted.
“I went down to an Air Force base and talked to a recruiter. I decided to join the Air Force and thought pilot training would be more fun than engineering.”
He served as aircraft commander, separating from the military in 1976 but staying on with the Air Force Reserve after that.
Logan attended the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania after leaving the Air Force and then began working at Price Waterhouse & Co., a consulting firm now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“I know I needed additional education to be a in a company or business. Being at a consulting firm also gave me a good foundation on what I required in business.”
Logan started Sport Clips in 1993, sensing an unmet need for hair salons that cater to men and boys.
“I saw that places for men and boys to get haircuts were lacking. Traditional barber shops were closing, and salons were more catering to women.”
Today, Sport Clips has 1,770 stores across the U.S. and in five provinces in Canada.
Mike Runyan, the chief talent officer at Sport Clips, said Logan talks to everyone and is committed to his vision. “He wants to be out and connect with people at the stores who are doing the hard work.”
Runyan, who served in the Marine Corps from 1989 to 1997, met Logan about a year ago, when he was working in human resources at another company. Runyan wasn’t sure what his role would be but after looking into Logan and the company, Runyan found it appealing.
“All military members have an unspoken bond. We’ve walked the same dirt. I looked at Gordon’s background and how much he gives back to the community, and I was amazed.”
Runyan said Logan is someone who remembers everything, and he admires his attention to detail.
“If you want to go and talk to him about something, you better go in with facts and data. Even six months from now, he will remember what you told him,” Runyan said.
Logan also gives back to the veteran community.
“Every year we work with (Sport Clips) Help a Hero Scholarship and sponsor veterans to go back to school and get an education. We’ve raised and sponsored a total of $4 million for education benefits,” Runyan said.
Going into the business industry can be tough if there aren’t proper preparations made beforehand, and Logan said he has seen too many people, both young and old, start a business and fail because they had no experience or knowledge about the industry.
“Business is a different world than the military. You either need to further your education or work with a company where you can learn.”
Shruti Bhatt is a rising senior at the University of Maryland, College Park.