5 Successful Brands Founded During the 2008 Financial Crisis

In the height of the 2008 economic downturn, while many industries crippled and mitigated all risk, other entrepreneurs uncovered opportunities and therefore entered a market many feared. During the gloom of a global financial crisis, some of the world’s leading brands were born.


  • Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique

    Petrepreneur Dan J Barton opened his first pet store in Palm Desert, California in 2008 amid the turn of the U.S. economy. Barton quickly realized that he was fortunate to have found a niche that had little to no impact from such a global crisis. After noticing the influx of pet-parents cutting costs elsewhere to maintain a certain quality of life for their dogs, he launched the Splash and Dash Membership Model, a first for the pet service industry. From there he allowed other boutique pet groomers to license his predictable business model. Today, the Splash and Dash concept has been franchised in communities across the nation.


  • Groupon

    Entrepreneur Andrew Mason founded Groupon in the middle of the 2008 recession. Groupon is a web-based service that promotes companies by offering exclusive discounts on their products and services. During a difficult time, Groupon was able to deliver value to both financially conscious consumers but also brands that struggled to generate new customers.  Groupon strategically allowed consumers to softy ease back into discretionary spending in a time of great financial uncertainty. Groupons efficient use of technology and transparency gave them great stability far after the recession passed.


  • Uber

    Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp founded Uber in 2009 after they couldn’t hail a cab on a cold evening. Today, Uber is valued at $47 billion. The ride share giant has expanded internationally and across various platforms, including food delivery, bike and scooter rental, and temporary professional staffing. Despite the decline of nonessential spending, Uber’s great know-how, logistical brilliance, and overall convenience of the service trumped any doubts of cautionary spending from its user base. Uber continues to earn rank as a leading brand far after 2009.


  • SmashBurger
    Smashburger was founded in 2007 by restaurant industry veterans Rick Schaden and Tom Ryan. The chain was founded in Denver, Colorado and serves “smashed” burgers and a specialized process of cooking them. The restaurant saw rapid growth and almost immediately. They added several hundred locations during the financial recession, 370 of them to be exact. Customers invited and enjoyed the premium offering and with little push back about higher pricing than popular burger chains. This high market hamburger franchise continues to gain market share today and they are the most notable disruptor of the traditional fast-food model.
  • WeddingWire
    Founded in 2007 by Timothy Chi, WeddingWire is a web-based platform that connects engaged couples and wedding-industry professionals and vendors. The database spans 15 countries across North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe. Today WeddingWire is the leading name in wedding planning. From the humble beginning during a financial recession, WeddingWire carved out an entire segment to simply empower engaged couples to discover business and essentially spend more. The technological ease and convenient usability has cemented this service as a staple within the billion dollar industry.

Who’s Shopping for a Franchise Now?

As we all know, these are interesting times. Much like the financial meltdown in 2008 … double digit unemployment, closing of businesses large and small, and an anxious population with no clear understanding for it all. It was a rough and scary time to be in business.And yet, the franchise industry powered through, adapted, and largely remained a calming voice of reason regarding business cycles and to some extent, that confidence and the historical perspective helped pull us out of that crisis and those empty strip malls filled up within a few months. If you were in this industry and were paying attention, you would have noticed weaker businesses go away and be replaced largely with franchises. And that was during a time when money was tight due to the banks epic failures and needing to be bailed out.True entrepreneurs seem to fully understand the opportunities embedded in this crisis. Here are some to ponder:
  • This crisis will end-probably before the average time it takes to research, present and award a franchise.
  • When this does end, there will be prime retail space available (for a short time), loans to be made, and an extremely hungry US consumer ready to spend again.
  • There is money to start a new business right now. At one point in the 2008 crisis if you wanted to borrow $100K, you’d need to pledge $100K in assets against that loan. So you could borrow the money, but only if you already had it. Not too helpful and very different today.
  • The federal and state governments are falling over themselves to pass laws to increase the cash flow for businesses. There are already bills being voted on to inject Trillions (yes, Trillions) into the economy.
  • We are in an election year. If you are a political student, you’ll know that those in power are gleeful to spend tax-payer dollars to help sure up the economy and their re-election.
  • The “Impact For Small Business Act” has secured an additional $50 Billion in SBA funding for the remainder of 2020 alone. That is a lot of money and it appears that it will be gobbled up by entrepreneurs. And they aren’t going to wait until the “all clear” bells rings. They are researching their options now.
  • In 2008 it was an unfriendly business environment and one that got increasingly difficult while things got sorted out. Today, our banks are in a better place and prior to a virus taking us down for a bit, we had too many jobs and not enough people to fill them!
The pet service industry is adding viral resistance to our appeal. We proved resilience with the financial recession and now a national pandemic. Nothing has changed, pet owners are passionate folks and people love their dogs! With the heightened focus on cleanliness lately, Splash and Dash locations not mandated to close by local law have seen great success by the numbers since the outbreak began:
  • Southern Pines, NC: Same Store Sales increased 30% with 54 new customers in the last 3 weeks alone.
  • Des Plaines, IL: In the midst of a temporary shut-down, Same Store Sales are up 24.3%. Clean Dog, Healthy Home!
  • Meridian, ID: Same Store Sales increased 18.5% as they still remain open under essential services, pet care.
In closing, what you do today will set you up for a prosperous future.