Taking care of business – Male Care provides personal services to men

Taking care of business – Male Care provides personal services to men – Brief Article

Bridget McCrea

The Calloways fill a niche in multiple markets

Fred and Richard Calloway are banking on the fact that professional men have very little time for necessities such as haircuts, dry cleaning, and finding a good car wash facility anymore. That is, unless they can get everything done in one place, at one time.

With their Augusta, Georgia-based company Male Care, Fred Calloway, 44, president, and his brother Richard Calloway, 45, vice president, are filling that need.

Working from a 4,000 square-foot location on one of Augusta’s main roads, their company caters to a decidedly male customer base with its barber, dry cleaning, and car wash services. With projected sales of $286,000 by year-end, this 11-employee company was born out of Fred Calloway’s frustration in getting his repetitive needs met.

“We all have repetitive needs, but there are few places where a black man can go, feel comfortable, and get the attention and quality service that his money demands,” says Fred.

So in 1998, with approximately $30,000 of combined personal savings, the brothers created Male Care. The money was expended quickly on the leased building, interior renovations, and the purchase of supplies.

The duo sought bank financing to finish the job, but was turned down for everything from business loans to lines of credit even though the Calloways were experienced business owners.

Determined to succeed, the pair rolled up their, sleeves, grabbed a hammer and a handful of nails, and got to work. Fred, an electrical engineer by trade, and Richard, who is retired from the Army, say the reasoning was simple: “We weren’t going to give up, so we made it happen through sweat equity and personal funds until the cash flow started.”

Benjamin Allen, an attorney at Benjamin Allen & Associates Inc., in Augusta and a state representative for Georgia, watched the building transform into a viable venture, and says the success came from the Calloway’s knowledge of what it means to run a business. “You must be willing to put the time, money, and effort into your dream,” says Allen. “The Calloways have done that.”

Today, Male Care serves approximately 1,800 customers each month, 80% of which are repeats. Fred says the company’s location, coupons, word of mouth, and radio advertising attract new clients.

Recently, the Male Care concept caught the attention of a local Meineke franchisee that wound up leasing a portion of the Calloways space. Although the Calloways retain 100% ownership of Male Care, now customers can drop off their cars for oil changes and service work in addition to the company’s core services. The brothers are interested in opening more Male Care franchises and have begun looking for investors.

Fred’s advice: “If you can provide a good service to your customers, and you know you have a profitable concept, don’t ever let the banks get you down. Be prepared for a rough ride and ride it through. You’ll get there.”

Male Care, 1634 Gordon Highway, Augusta, GA 30906; 706-796-7278; callowaycompany@aol.com.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group