4 brands that put the buzz back into retail

By Sarah Stowe | 05 May 2020 View comments

Retail isn’t just about shopping any more. Today’s consumer wants solutions, and that’s just what these four brilliant franchise retailers deliver – literally, and in store. Check them out…

Clark Rubber

What a pedigree this brand has: established in 1946 Clark Rubber began franchising in 1995. It’s one of Australia’s retail icons.

With all that history behind it, the chain of now nearly 60 stores hasn’t stood still. Late last year the brand launched its solo mobile van operation, which gets franchisees into their own business with an investment of just $24,995.

Of course if you’ve got ambition to open a full store, expect to dip into savings or secure a loan to pay between $147,500 and $420,000.

The great news is you don’t need retail experience. You’ll learn how to run your pool, foam and rubber store, provide solutions for customers and get ongoing development and business advice to help you on your entrepreneurial journey.


An Aussie success story that has made a splash in the massive US market, Poolwerx is a multi-award winning franchise brand. It was established by entrepreneur John O’Brien, who back in 1992 spotted the opportunity to put order and systems into the pool cleaning business.

Today the Poolwerx brand represents a three-tier business opportunity: mobile van, retail store, and retail store hub.

Retailing product as a solution to pool problems is key to the service. Poolwerx has been quick in the coronavirus crisis to adapt its delivery process and bring in kerbside pick-up.

Franchisees learn their skills at the brand’s head office pool school, a state-of-the-art facility in Brisbane.

Snap-on Tools

Now this really is specialist territory! The perfect combination for a tool tech who loves to sell, the Snap-on Tools business matches on-the-road retail with high class merchandise and expertise.

This is something of a quiet achiever. The brand began in the US decades ago, and has been in Australia since 1994. It’s a popular choice with ex-mechanics, and those with a passion for having the right tool for the job.

The Snap-on Tools van is a treasure trove of delights, perfectly kitted out with the latest products and of course access to high-tech diagnosis.

A funding scheme allows for a low investment entry level – $50,000 to get started.


Nearly 40 years ago the Swimart brand first launched in Australia. It’s part of the major global business Waterco, which gives it an international perspective though the head office is in Sydney.

Waterco designs and manufactures filtration and sanitisation systems for the swimming pool, spa, aquaculture, and water purification sectors so its retail arm, Swimart, is backed by serious product knowledge and innovation.

Swimart has grown to a network of more than 70 retail outlets across Australia and New Zealand.

If you’re a little cash-strapped, the $50,000 mobile operation could be a good way into this ever-growing marketplace. For those with more substantial funds, a retail store can cost up to $250,000.